There are rumblings that small businesses are ready to hire this year. That’s good news. But the challenge always becomes, finding the right candidate to join your team. If you follow the news, you know that social media are playing an increasingly important role in hiring employees. In fact, I recently appeared on Fox 2 News in St. Louis sharing tips on hire to use LinkedIn to find your dream job.

If you haven’t been in the hiring mode for some time, then you probably aren’t familiar with the power of social media to assist you in finding your next great employee. Social media should be seen as one component to consider when you begin your quest; traditional recruiting methods are still very valuable. However, being social media savvy may make your search easier and improve your results.
For some background, let’s lay down a couple of undeniable facts. First, most of your best candidates are already employed and are probably doing fairly well in their jobs. Second, the best candidates don’t often troll the online job portals.
Those facts point to the first strategy in using social media to hire good employees:
1. Make your business attractive in the social media.
This pays off in two specific cases. First, if you typically look for candidates already in your industry, having a business with a solid social media presence and reputation is very helpful. Second, many times the best new employees are acquaintances of current employees. This means they may be exposed to your social media presence through your staff. If you have made a good impression on them through social media, these “pre-screened” candidates may be anxious to come onboard when they learn about an opening.
Your business should have a presence on LinkedIn and it’s a good idea to participate in groups related to your industry. Get your name out there and elevate your profile. A business account on LinkedIn also shows that you’re a serious player.
As a footnote to this: Virtually everyone considering employment with you will be checking out your social media. Make sure it’s up to the scrutiny.
2. LinkedIn will be your primary site for professional hires.
Kristen Ridgway, Communications Manager at Raines International, Inc., a retained executive search firm in New York, often works with social media in the recruitment process. “We use LinkedIn as a research tool, but we still rely on industry research and relationships to identify our target candidates,” Ridgway explains. “LinkedIn can help us speed the process of candidate identification—and candidate elimination.”
To make an overall assessment of a candidate, they go far beyond LinkedIn, just as they go far beyond the resume. “But anything inappropriate in someone’s online presence is a red flag or simply a nonstarter. There are too many stories of social media disasters for us to take that lightly,” she adds. “A good profile gives a candidate visibility, but having no profile is far better than having a bad profile.”
3. Twitter can be useful.
Consider being active on Twitter in conjunction with LinkedIn. If your industry news has Twitter followers, you can raise awareness of your business there and even broadcast a job opening. The people who see it would be very well targeted.
Also, if candidates have Twitter accounts, see if they have tweets that relate to business. If you find someone who often broadcasts tips and insights about your industry, you might have identified your next rising star.
It’s the “social” aspect of the social media that makes them a good tool for recruiting. Social connections and networks have always provided the best hires. With the power of the Internet behind social connections, small business owners now have even better chances of finding the ideal candidate.
This article was originally published by Susan Solovic
Susan Solovic
Susan Wilson Solovic is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author, and attorney. She was the CEO and co-founder of—small business television—a company she grew from its infancy to a million dollar plus entity. She appears regularly as a featured expert on Fox Business, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC and can be seen currently as a small business expert on the AT&T Networking Exchange website. Susan is a member of the Board of Trustees of Columbia College and the Advisory Boards for the John Cook School of Entrepreneurship at Saint Louis University as well as the Fishman School of Entrepreneurship at Columbia College.