MSNBC recently published an article entitled “Social Networking seldom gets new grads hired.” The article tries to argue that social media is not an effective way to land a job, but instead, only proves that many students simply aren’t taking advantage of the tools. The article goes on to misunderstand how social media fits into the job search.
The article itself is actually very interesting and raises some important points but is ultimately ill-researched and draws false conclusions. I enjoyed the article, so I tried to comment with some counter research, but my comment was denied,which prompted me to write this post.
The Article uses unrelated research to support it’s claim
The article implies that social media is ineffective for recent college grads, by using anecdotal cases of a few well-connected, students who landed a job through traditional means, and statistics taken out of context, as it main points of reference. The bread and butter of her argument quotes a study that demonstrated last year only one percent of new hires were found through social media.
Her evidence does not prove the most important point in question: Is social media an effective vehicle to land a job? It simply proves that the majority of candidates are still using traditional techniques
Who wouldn’t expect this? Social media as a job search tool has been around for a couple of years. Of course most hires are found through traditional means.
Research shows social media is an increasingly effective tool to land a job
If the article took the time to fully research the matter, it would be clear that even though many candidates aren’t utilizing the tools in an effective way, social media is a very powerful tool to get hired.
According to recent in depth U.S study by Cross Tab Marketing:
- 75% of HR departments are now required to research candidates online.
- 70% of U.S recruiters and HR professionals say they have rejected candidates based on information they found online.
- 85% say that positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions at least to some extent. Nearly half say that a strong online reputation influences their decisions to a great extent.
In-depth 2008/2009 studies from Career Builder and Execunet report very similar findings. I have the links below, including an interesting article Mashable wrote on the Career Builder study last year.
Conclusion: How social media helps
The MSNBC article simply found that social media job search techniques are not yet mainstream practice and inaccurately concluded the methods themselves are not effective. The author did not bother to explore how social media actually complements the very techniques she champions to find a job.
Here’s what we know as fact:
- Employers will Google candidates and research them online
- They will make hiring decisions based on positive content
The article correctly pinpoints the key ingredients to getting hired:
- Knowledge of company and industry trends
- Strong First Impression
What the author fails to understand is that for many grads, social media is the easiest way to accomplish these paramounts. Most grads don’t have many contacts in their dream companies. By creating positive content and making sure it shows up at the top of Google, grads are ensuring they make a good first impression. By participating in industry forums and groups, commenting on articles, and sharing industry trends, they are networking. By plugging into RSS feeds, posting content and joining groups they are keeping up to date and preparing themselves for the work place. They are meeting (and impressing) industry peers they would not have met otherwise and getting their foot in the door.
Research only indicates that this method of networking will only grow.