Prospective graduates should be making the most of social media to get ahead of the pack when it comes to snapping up the pick of graduate places, Michael Specht, founder of HR technology consulting firm Inspecht has told Lawyers Weekly.
Organisations such as Ernst & Young and Deloitte have set up Facebook pages, and Deloitte also recently ran a YouTube video competition for graduates which attracted 25,000 views.
Specht, who is speaking at a conference, Social Media: A Recruitment Revolution, in Melbourne in December, said that a number of large employers are now incorporating social media strategies into their recruitment frameworks, giving prospective graduates the opportunity to engage with employers and their existing employees.
"Social media allows graduates to get out there and promote themselves and demonstrate their interest in organisations, in topics, in industries, and start to participate and actually engage with thought leaders within potential organisations," he said.
He relayed an account of a recently recruited IBM graduate who blogged and used social media sites to engage with IBM employees from across the world throughout her last year of study. "When she had her interview with the hiring manager ... she said to the hiring manager 'I'm sorry I'm a bit nervous'. But the hiring manager turned around and said 'Oh, that's okay, we're really nervous to meet you too - we've heard so many fantastic things about you'. So all those things she had done online really impressed them," he explained.
Her proactive use of social media also gave her a headstart over her peers when she commenced with IBM. "She already knew all sorts of people all over the world and she could actually become productive very quickly. And that's what companies who are starting to engage those graduates on Facebook are trying to leverage," he said.
However Specht cautioned graduates to carefully consider the image they present to prospective employers when using social media platforms. "There are examples of employees losing their jobs because they've 'friended' someone in the workplace on Facebook who could then see their profile and [see] they were complaining about their jobs," he said. "So graduates very much need to be thinking about what they're doing online. You've got to assume it's all public - and you've got to assume that once it's in the Google search engine, it's there forever."
For more information about the conference "Social Media: A Recruitment Revolution" see www.atcevent.com/socialmedia.
- Zoe Lyon