Should you refer job applicants you’ve met, or maybe even haven’t met, from the social networks you participate in?
The long answer is a bit more nuanced than a simple yes, no, or maybe.
I was hired at my last two positions from job referrals on Twitter, both tweets from people I had never met. Why would someone take a chance on me?
Personal Branding Delivers An Evolving Resume
If you’re using social media tools correctly (and at this point there are good & bad or right & wrong ways to use these tools), you’re developing relationships constantly. You no longer network because you have to when you need a job. You network all year long to increase the size and quality of your network for anything you may need.
This is the basis of crowd sourcing when you need something like a restaurant recommendation, thoughts on a new product, or if there are open jobs available. The idea of referring a person from social media interaction isn’t unusual because there have likely been quality conversations on a variety of platforms with said person.
At the end of the day, you wouldn’t refer a person that didn’t represent you or you yourself wouldn’t want to work with.
Assessing a candidate’s personal brand on social networks is easy. If the candidate has done a good job, at the minimum their picture is consistent on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, they’ve hidden Facebook from search results to avoid any embarrassing stories/photos, and they’ve gone over their first two pages of Google search results for links that show them in the most positive light. They might also show up in various online communities like Reddit or Brazen Careerist, or guest blog posts to demonstrate their expertise in an area.
Again, if the person is actively participating in this activity, these actions speak for themselves as a live & interactive resume.
Why Refer Unknowns?
Many companies offer applicant referral bonuses to employees because odds are a friend of an employee is going to be a good hire. That person has already been vetted and vouched for. The company didn’t have to do any advertising to get their attention. When there’s monetary incentive for the employee, the employee will actively keep open positions in mind and let job searchers they know personally, what’s available.
As I work for a company that is growing at a quick pace, I’ve referred quite a few people recently. It’s the perfect way to get a little extra cash and surround yourself with a team of people you know are going to knock it out of the park. Of the few referrals I’ve submitted, two were actually hired. I had met one at various networking events and I had never met the other. They are both working out great.
In order to refer someone and feel morally OK in doing so, a bit of research is required. The personal branding mentioned above goes a long way, but the ongoing conversations you have on these social networks is the icing on the cake. You know these people, what they’re after, what they want, and where they’re coming from because you see them everywhere as subject experts. They’re desirable candidates.
If there are still trepidations, feel free to schedule a Skype call and do your own mini interview before giving them the referral link. No sense in putting your seal of approval on someone that doesn’t deserve it, and might not get you that referral bonus, or brownie points for future referrals. Feel confident that you’re suggesting the best person for the job, otherwise it’ll come back to haunt you.
This article was written by Community Manager Jenn Pedde, on behalf of Work It Daily-Approved Partner, 2tor. 2tor is an education technology company that partners with institutions of higher education such as the University of Southern California to deliver their online MSW degree. Jenn is also the co-founder of TheCommunityManager.com, and loves to travel.
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