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Social Media: The Great Job Search Equalizer {Twitterview with Mark Babbitt}

We recently conducted a Twitterview (Twitter interview) with Mark Babbitt (@MarkSBabbitt), CEO and founder of YouTern, President of Switch and Shift, and author of the new book, A World Gone Social. Using the hashtag #VJobChat, we discussed his book and how he has seen social media (the good side and the bad) change the job market in the past few years. Check out the conversation below for some great insight into the world of social recruiting!

The man behind the conversation.

Q. Tell our followers a little about yourself.

A: I am the CEO and Founder of YouTern, one of the very first online talent communities. I am also the President of the leadership site Switch and Shift where I work with Ted Coine (@TedCoine) and Shawn Murphy (@shawmu). And along with Ted Coine, I authored ‘A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive.’

Q. What does YouTern do?

A: YouTern enables college students, recent graduates, and young professionals to become highly employable. We also work with those in career transition and military veterans to help find their niche and gain real experience. Our focus is high-impact internships, mentorship, and contemporary career advice that really work.

How social changed everything – for job seekers.

Q. You have a new book, A World Gone Social. Can you give us a small summary?

A: A World Gone Social is a look at how we move our brands, both personal and corporate, into the Social Age. Too many people and companies seem to be stuck in Industrial Age limbo, unwilling to move ahead. We talk about the people and companies really doing social right, and hope to inspire others to do the same.

Q. How do you think social media has changed the job search for candidates?

A: For job seekers, social media is the great equalizer. Everyone is a contender now. Social allows each of us to establish a strong personal brand, regardless of any other circumstances. Where we went to school, our socioeconomic status, geography… none of that matters now. All we need to do is prove to an employer we can do the job and that we have the soft skills needed. And, of course, we must demonstrate we’re likeable and a fit for their culture… easily done on social.

Q. Is having a presence on social media important for the modern job search – for job seekers?

A: For most job hunters, an online presence – social proof of your employability and character – is critical. 94% of recruiters look at your LinkedIn profile. 76% of them look at Facebook. And 56% peek at Twitter. If a job seeker isn’t there, the recruiter or hiring manager feels a hole; they wonder “Why not?” And in most cases, they simply move on to the next candidate with a strong online presence.

How social changed everything – for companies.

Q. Is having a presence on social media important for the modern job search – for companies?

A: Just like recruiters wonder why a candidate isn’t online, a job seeker says “Hey, where are these guys?”If an employer wants to be considered transparent, and a good company to work for, they must be on social.

Q. How have you seen social media change the way companies hire new talent?

A: As most now know, companies are using social profiles to weed out candidates. But that isn’t the whole story. Companies are also using social to build stronger cultures and be more authentic in their hiring practices. They are using social to identify (or “source”) potential new team members before they need them. And by getting a peek at the “real” person online, they are reducing the number of hiring mistakes made.

Q. How are companies adapting to integrate social media into their everyday business?

A: Far too many companies see social media as just another marketing channel; another way to talk AT people. The companies that really get it see social as a way to engage, inspire loyalty and build relationships. And they actively listen for mentions of the company, good or bad. Real-time tweets and posts? Priceless.

Q. How has social media changed the way employees interact with their employers?

A: Employees are the people dealing with customers every day; they are the ears of every company. So smart employers are figuring out that engagement – actually listening to employees – is not optional. And listening is just the beginning. Employers must leverage the collective intelligence of their employees. Employees are our best source of innovative ideas and creative solutions. Not listening means not competing.

The do’s and don’ts of using social media.

Q. What can social media users looking for a job do to stand out in a positive way?

A: Standing out online comes down to two things: social proof and likeability. Social proof is evidence that you can not only do the job, but that you are who you say you are; you’re real. While subjective, likeability is critical because culture fit is a huge issue in today’s job market. Every employer asks the same question: “Will you fit in with our existing team?”

Q. What’s the worst social media mistake a job seeker can make during their search?

A: Being less than authentic. Employers can find anything out, on anybody. Nothing is off limits. When a job seeker tries to fake a personal brand, lie on their resume, etc… it is discovered, quickly. I’ll also add that job seekers fail miserably when they display less than a positive attitude online. After all, no one knowingly hires drama queens, divas, or trolls.

Q. What is a good example of how you’ve seen someone use social media to land an interview/job?

A: There are now so many examples of job seekers leveraging social media to advance their careers. There are also many examples of companies bypassing what has been a broken hiring system to find amazing people. For the first time ever, employers and job seekers can learn enough about each other to know if there’s a match. Social simply helps job seekers & employers find that match – and build a mutually-beneficial relationship.

Do you have more questions about the social job search? Let’s chat! Use the hashtag #VJobChat or comment below to continue the conversation.

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