How Job Seekers view Enterprise Social Media

How Job Seekers view Enterprise Social Media

Imagine you were browsing one of those job web sites. (I know, this is purely hypothetical since everyone I know is extremely happy and content with their current job. But let’s play pretend for a moment.) Now imagine you came across this ad:

Wanted: Motivated applicants for a challenging yet rewarding career. College degree or equivalent work experience required. We are a rapidly expanding company with customers all across the world. We are looking for new hires for our brand new Boston office which was recently upgraded to the latest and greatest technology. We pulled out all the stops. Desk chairs with wheels, indoor plumbing, and now with electricity! Nothing is too good for our team. Join us today and take part in the future!

What would you think this? Sure it reads like a parody, but imagine it were real. How would you feel about this company? In a way, I kind of feel sorry for them. They are so excited, but they don’t even seem to know how out of place they are. Electricity, really?

But why? Why does this ad seems so off the mark? That company is an outlier and stands out because your entire life revolves around access to electricity. You have built an entire approach to your life, your relationships and your work that depend on the ever present technology of electricity. For you, it isn’t a nice to have. It also isn’t something you think about. It’s just there, all the time.

This is how the next generation, your future employee pool, think about social media.


Some of you are probably saying “Oh, give me a break!” Social networks are not electricity. To you, they are not. But remember, we are talking about a generation of future employees who never knew a world where information at your fingertips didn’t exist. They won’t know a world where it wasn’t possible to distribute menial mental processing to technology and focus on higher order concepts. They don’t understand a world where sharing and collaboration doesn’t happen everywhere for everything with anyone. They simply cannot imagine a world like that; no more than you could imagine a life without electricity. Further, they would no more work for a company like that, then you would work somewhere where electricity was “cutting edge”

Every generation laments that the next one has lost something important. Sometimes, these observations may even be true. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is happening and we will be forced to embrace it. To do otherwise is like complaining we don’t wear fedoras or speak old English anymore. Progress is water flowing over a rock; eventually the rock will have to give way. Things that are toys today were simply not even possible just 10 years ago. Forget hard or expensive – they were science fiction.

Gartner says 50% of CEOs don’t allow access to social networking sites within their company.

Ultimately, that is a losing battle. Social media and the new paradigms are here to stay. Your future employees were born and raised there. Your current employees are moving there quickly. The real question is: How can you make it work for you?

I imagine the ban on social networking to be short lived. Companies are already setting up their own internal social networks. Although sometimes they forget the “social” part. I also would not be surprised if Facebook starts to partner with companies to show company-specific content, when Facebook is accessed from a corporate firewall.

Lastly, there is a lot of research that describes the benefits of using social networking. Improvements in employee morale and employee productivity, for example. Yes, productivity can actually be enhanced using the web! One of my favorite observations is how social bookmarking and social networking speeds acculturation. If you want groups and employee to learn about who you are, there is no better way then social media and collaboration where those norms are displayed, modeled and rewarded.