Job Searchers Want More Useful Dialogue with Employers

Studies on the adoption of social media in the enterprise show prolific rates of usage in marketing products, improving customer service and staying in touch with customer expectations. Customers, brand loyalists and potential employees, however, are finding a portion of social networking outreach to be full of advertising jargon and lacking a real feedback loop.

Workers want more than connection with friends when it comes to social media. Thirty-five percent of nearly 4,500 workers want social media efforts by companies to include more useful information such as job listings, according to a second quarter survey from Careerbuilder published Aug. 18. Roughly one-quarter of those polled would like more facts and history about companies and actual information about career paths within an organization.

A February study from PR firm Burson-Marsteller on social media found 79 percent of the 100 largest companies in the global Fortune 500 are using at least one of the major social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or corporate blogs. Only 20 percent are using all four technologies. Twitter was the dominant technology used globally, while corporate blogs in the United States were waning in usage.

Adoption is large, but that adoption is not necessarily making companies look good overall, wrote Burson-Marsteller in the report which collected data between November 2009 and January 2010. From the report:

"We found that each of these tools is being used extensively not only by corporate headquarters but also by local market offices, various divisions of the company and for one-time corporate events. To this extent, social media is providing great benefits and opportunities by helping different niches of a company reach their target audiences. But, it is also introducing challenge by creating mixed messages and tones and by leaving abandoned Twitter accounts and Facebook fan pages which may be detrimental to the brand."

In terms of corporate blogging in the United States, the study found only 11 percent of these Fortune 100 companies were actively posting in one month, but those that did post saw 90 percent active comments from customers. The message here? Don't underestimate the importance of activity and dialogue gained in blogs.

The Careerbuilder study gives some credence to users wanting more social dialogue. Nearly 40 percent of potential workers found social media campaigns to read like advertising--not engaging dialogue--and 30 percent were frustrated by the lack of response to questions.

What's a job searcher to do?

"They can explore all facets of a company's social media presence, such as all the sites they are on, watch videos, view comments and more to see if they can connect with potentially more -social' portions of their brand," said Alison Nawoj of Careerbuilder in an interview with eWEEK. "Also, if a worker would like to see more than just advertising jargon, they can say something about it by communicating their opinions on one of the company's sites."