This is not another blog espousing the virtues of social media… no social media, in particular Twitter can be a bitch. Don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter… I dedicate a couple of hours a day to the Twitterverse – usually early in the morning, or late in the evening. I love finding out recruitment news as it happens – and retweeting appropriately. I enjoy seeing what roles are available and trending, and the witty banter between recruitment industry heavy weights. Most importantly I enjoy reading about what Ashton Kutcher had for breakfast, or the fascinating tweet from Paris Hilton about her new multi-storey dog mansion, for her 17 Chihuahuas and one Pomeranian…
I interviewed a candidate last week. He was a senior recruitment consultant in the Supply Chain space. Four year’s experience, a history of very strong billings and an excellent networker. This candidate – let’s call him Derek (I apologise to all the Derek’s out there, or any expecting mother looking to call their new born son Derek… don’t know where the name Derek came from… maybe my ex’s wicked Uncle Derek who had a collection of masonic memorabilia in his garage – and spent an inordinate amount of time grooming his dog… come to think of it, Uncle Derek’s dog was a Chihuahua too… what are the odds?).
Anyway, the Derek interview was going along very nicely. He currently worked with one of the very large, generalist, recruitment agencies. He explained his day-to-day activities, his wins, business development prowess and broke down his monthly billings. I was rubbing my hands with glee – he was turning out to be a genuine, ‘A’ class candidate.
‘So Derek,’ I gushed. ‘Why are you looking to move on from ABC Agency?’
‘Well.’ Derek replied, beginning to squirm somewhat in his seat. ‘I have been given a warning for social media use…’
A warning for social media use – you heard right… what did this guy do? Attack his boss? Spout political rhetoric? Racially vilify a professional footballer?
It turns out that the warning was for something far more pedestrian than that… Derek had spent his lunch hour waiting in line at one of the ‘Big 4’ banks. He returned to his office about ten minutes late and his manager mentioned it. In a moment of madness Derek took to Twitter, and in a well crafted 140 character rant Derek questioned the customer service standards (and waiting time) at his bank. Unfortunately, for Derek – and unbeknown to him – his Recruitment agency was currently tendering for a panel place with said bank… Derek’s employer had a clear Social Media Policy in place, directing in no uncertain terms that employees must represent the agency positively (in relation to clients and candidates), at all times within any social media environment – hence the warning.
So my message to you is twofold. Firstly, Social Media policies are becoming more prevalent in the Recruitment world – make sure you are aware of your obligations. Secondly, we have all sent the odd suspect email in a fit of rage, emotion or adrenalin. With an email it goes to one person… sure they may forward it on, but it will always be a relatively slow moving beast in comparison to Twitter. Let’s say you have 200 followers, who will all see your rant – a couple of them may retweet to their followers and before you know it you are more viral than the bird flu.
Be careful with your tweets, but more importantly… be funny.