It’s well-known at this point that social media can be a great tool for evaluating and even discovering potential business partners, co-founders, and employees. The business social network LinkedIn is probably the best known of these tools, although you can find great people on other social networks, such as Twitter.
But just because you can find potential employees through social media doesn’t mean you’re finding the cream of the crop. You don’t want just any person – you want a star that will utilize his or her passion and intelligence to get deals done, build great code, and just make things happen. Finding these gems through social media takes a little extra effort, but if you know the signs and the tricks, the payoff will be enormous. Here are some of my top tips on finding star employees through social media:
- Writing style says a lot: Many top-tier recruits, especially those in marketing, business development, PR, and editorial, have blogs with at least a small readership. Take the time to read his or her blog posts - and not just the most recent ones, but the early ones as well. It will give you an idea about his or her professionalism, communication skills, and ability to evolve and progress.
- People gain followings for a reason: If you have two seemingly equal candidates in terms of enthusiasm and skill, how do you differentiate between the two? One good way is to see how many people are commenting on their blog and, more significantly, how many followers they have on Twitter. Followers are a rough vote of interest and confidence in an individual. Someone with thousands of followers has likely made a strong reputation for themselves. Though it's important to note that following is one small factor, and the content of his or her blog posts and tweets are just as, if not more, important.
- See what others are saying: Wall posts, Twitter @replies, blog comments, and LinkedIn recommendations provide insight into what people think of your candidate. Is he or she seen as an expert or an instigator? Be sure to find out.
- Social media at the right time: Is your candidate on the job currently? Is he or she tweeting about her friends while she should be coding? Check the times of tweets and Facebook updates, and differentiate between social media for work and social media for play.
- Actions speak louder than words: If someone has made significant achievements and received recognition, you will find the record on social media. Once again, see what others have said to find out if your star candidate was really the driving force behind change or just attached his or her name to the project.