The War for Talent: How Employers Find Employees

Regardless of how competitive it may feel to get a job, it is important to remember that employers are often just as eager to find qualified candidates to hire. According to a Social Recruiting Survey conducted by Jobvite, 69 percent of employers expect to feel increased competition from other organizations next year. Many employers feel as though they are falling behind due to a shortage of workers with the skills they need and increased competition from other organizations. In fact, the most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey released by the Department of Labor reported 4.8 million job openings in the United States – the highest number since January 2001.  Learn four techniques employers use to seek out and identify potential hires so that you can increase your chances of being found.

Get Social

Jobvite reports that a whopping 93 percent of recruiters, or individuals responsible for identifying potential hires, use social media channels to identify candidates. While recruiters do screen out candidates based on social media content that shows drug use, alcohol intoxication or lewd behavior, recruiters more often turn to social media to identify candidates who showcase their skills, interests and expertise effectively online.

While it’s important to keep your social media stream clear of content that may create a red flag for employer, a positive presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can pique employer interest and result in direct outreach from a recruiter or hiring manager. 

Like Instead of Friend on Facebook

Liking an Organization on Facebook is like entering a one-way street. You can see status updates and make comments on an organization’s page, but the organization cannot see status updates that you make on your own page. If an organization has done something notable such as winning an award or mentioning philanthropic work – comment on it and share it. If you are currently employed, hold off on publicly announcing your interest – and send a private message instead.

To send a private Message on a Facebook pages, go to the organization’s page and click on the Message icon.

Monitor Job Announcements, Conversations and News on Twitter

Jobvite says over half of organizations use Twitter. Use Twitter’s Search feature to search for jobs, bios and tweets of recruiters and employees of the organization you want to work for. Create a Twitter bio and reach out via an @reply message once you’ve built up a tweet stream that shows your interest and knowledge of the field and job you want to work in. Ask for a job and you’ll come on too strong, but ask a question or give a compliment and your messages may be met with a response or a follow – either of which gives you the opportunity to follow up and build additional rapport with the employer.

Get in Good Company on LinkedIn

A whopping 94 percent of recruiters say they use LinkedIn for recruiting. So if you only have the time and interest to participate on one social network, use LinkedIn. The first step in being found by employers online is to write a strong LinkedIn profile that contains the keywords that showcase your skills and match the jobs you want to do. Once you feel good about your profile, join LinkedIn groups in your area of interest and get started networking to increase your visibility.

While these four strategies may not help you get contacted by a hiring manager overnight, they are a proven way to increase your visibility and boost your chances of being found by an employer or recommended by a friend. 

What If An Employer Asks for My Facebook Password?

I was asked this question by a reporter at the AP. You can see the story here.

It's technically illegal for employers to ask -- as it's against Facebook's terms of service to share your passwords or login with someone else's information. But it's unlikely that an employer would be prosecuted since you are giving them permission to login to your account.

That said, in a job search -- if you want to get hired, I think it's important to look like you've nothing to hide. In general, you want to be friendly, approachable, and presentable.

Here's a two step process you can use to address the question:

  1. Ask what the employer's looking for when they look at Facebook. Don't ask "Why" as that may come across as aggressive. Instead say, "What will you be looking for?"
    In many cases, employers who have asked for Facebook login information have been law enforcement professionals -- looking for evidence of gang involvement or illegal opportunities.

    In others industries, employers may want to see your Facebook profile so that they can see how your out-of-work activities demonstrate what you want to do for work. Want to be an event manager? Do you help organize activities for your friends? In this case, your involvement can actually help you and work in your favor.

  2.  Politely sidestep the password access information issue by offering an alternative way for the employer to get the information.

    You could say for example, I'm very careful with my passwords -- and assume you'd want me to be careful with my company e-mail account if I come to work for you. How about I friend you -- or one of your colleagues instead -- and you can take a look around.

    (This then gives you the added bonus of time, you can go back in and clean up information if you need to.)

    Want more insight on what employers are looking for? Check out the advice I gave reporter Jennifer Doll when she gave me (temporary) permission to snoop around in her Facebook and Twitter accounts. This piece gives a full overview of my advice on what to include -- and what not to include online.

Should I Pursue an Online Degree?

I'm considering enrolling in an online degree program as I haven't finished my Bachelor's degree? Should I do it?

- C.S.

My answer in brief: Know if the program is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency before you go. If the program or degree program is not accredited, your degree may not hold weight in the eyes of an employer -- and it may hurt you. Especially if you take out student loans to pay for the program.

For instructions on how to review and evaluate whether or not a program is accredited, see my recent post on this on the Career Hub. Note: Many "diploma mills" say they are accredited -- and technically they are. The trick is to make sure they are accredited by an agency that is recognized by the Department of Education -- and is widely accepted in your field. And always ask if you can speak to a real graduate who is actively working before you enroll.)

Good luck!


How Do I Get Started on LinkedIn?


After years of being asked to join LinkedIn, I've finally done it. Any suggestions on how to get started?  C. L.

Great question. As LinkedIn is a full service networking site, there are many ways to use it -- from making new professional connections through LinkedIn groups and Q &A discussions to finding jobs and requesting referrals.

If you're new to LinkedIn, the first thing you should do is make sure you've got an amazing profile that employers can find. Studies show that up to 86% of employers using social media to find candidates for jobs use LinkedIn so I recommend you have the best profile possible.

Bonus: LinkedIn is one of the 15 most accessed sites online as tracked by, so any information you post on the site and make public will help you be found by major search engines -- and prospective employers.

Here's a quick list of easy steps you can use to optimize LinkedIn that I created over at Let me know if you find this to be helpful -- and good luck!