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If you are looking for a job, internship or just want to learn more about a company you need to connect to companies on Social Media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube… you name it, companies want to see you interacting with them in these arenas. Gone are the days of only interacting over phone, email or the company website.

Today I attended a one day workshop in which a human resources director for a big four accounting firm spoke over an hour about how his company connects with potential hires and college students on Social Media. He described how the goals of using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are to help students looking for an internship or job learn more about their firm culture, as well as, inform others on what differentiates them from their competitors.

With the hyper-ability to connect to companies of interest, comes some positives and negatives, myths and truths.

Positive: It is easier than ever to learn which company might be right for you and to prepare for an interview/ conduct company research.

Negative: The interviewers and company representatives are going to expect more out of you as far as what you know about the company because that information is so readily available. They may also expect you to connect with them and interact with them on the platforms. If you don’t, you may appear to not be as interested as other candidates.

Myth: Companies check your Facebook Profile before they interview you and will rescind offers if they see you are posting poor taste comments or pictures. This is myth because as I learned today, legally a company isn’t allowed to screen candidates over social media. So if they see something they don’t like- they cannot let it effect their offer to hire you. Though, if they do learn of some poor behavior, they may enroll you in coaching or courses to correct your weaknesses.

Truth: Companies use Social Media to attract and inform potential candidates. Those on Social Media will even write back to you if you comment on their wall, mention them in a tweet or post a comment on their LinkedIn Group.

One additional take away from today’s workshop and from this week’s workshops on LinkedIn by LinkedIn Employee, John Hill, that I wanted to share:

LinkedIn is a great place to do research on companies and connections. But I’m sensing a theme that many recruiters do not want to be contacted by students directly on LinkedIn. Instead use the connections you have seen on LinkedIn and contact who you know that knows the person you want to network with outside of social media. Consider calling a 1st degree connection to say “I see that you know ________. I’m seeking a job at the company _________ works at and I was wondering if you would be able to introduce me to ________.” Likely, if your 1st degree connection knows your 2nd degree connection well and you both have a mutually strong relationship, they will be willing to make the introduction.

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