Tag Archives: Social media

What Millennials really want but often don’t get

Employers and Millennials often have differences in the workplace. That is because employers are mostly older people over the age of 40. They’re set in different ways and have hold true to different values than the younger Millennials. I hate to speak in age categories or generations but it is a good way to highlight the differences between various groups in the workplace.

A recent survey by UNIZO, the organization I currently work for, shows that 6 in 10 entrepreneurs has negative feelings about the so-called Generation Y. They say that young professionals have unrealistic demands in terms of salary and other facilities in the workplace.

Almost 40% of the questioned entrepreneurs believes that Millenials have unrealistic demands in terms of salary, flexibility and working hours. One fifth states that young employees are not motivated enough. Furthermore, the majority (78%) agrees that young employees choose their private lives over their work and almost 53% thinks it’s a disaster that they are not prepared to bind themselves to one employer for life.

I find that these results don’t really surprise me. There have always been differences between different age groups and it hasn’t changed in the past few years. The cliché “Kids these days … “ is used frequently (and by every generation I might add). The only thing that surprised me is that more than 50% of the questioned entrepreneurs still want employees to chain themselves to one employer for an extended period of time. I was under the impression that this was a thing from the past and that employers wanted to have a certain amount of turnover to add some diversity and a pair of fresh eyes to the workplace. Anyway, that is out of the scope of this article.

But are the demands of Millennials really that unrealistic and absurd? What do they (we) really want? Well, one thing is loud and clear. We want Facebook, Twitter and smartphones. We’ve grown up with them and consider them an extension of ourselves, it would be wrong to deny us access to social media when we rely on it for so much. And quite frankly, if employers don’t give us access to social media, we’ll find an employer that will. Simple as that.

This is a major finding from the annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report which surveyed 1 400 college students and 1 400 young professionals under the age of 30. The report states:

 “The growing use of the Internet and mobile devices in the workplace is creating a significant impact on job decisions, hiring and work-life balance.  The ability to use social media, mobile devices, and the Internet more freely in the workplace is strong enough to influence job choice, sometimes more than salary.”

For 33% of all respondents, the ability to use social media, bring their own tech devices for use at work and work remotely (be it from home or different offices) are more important to them than salary. I can definitely find myself in these numbers. I would gladly accept a job that pays me less but offers me more in terms of facilities and freedom. Flexibility in terms of device choice, social media and working out-of-office is the key here.

So the statement about having unrealistic salary demands doesn’t appear to be true, what we do want is to be paid accord to our job. And really, I found that our salary demands are quite realistic because we recognize the fact that we can’t start on an executive level and that we need to work our way up the ladder just like anyone else. I think this is just a case of a few rotten apples if I may be so blunt, people remember only the bad things. That’s just the way it is.

Anyway, back to technology. Us Millennials don’t hesitate to make our technology demands known. Almost two-thirds ask about the social media policy during a job interview. And it would appear that companies are in fact listening to these demands: 41% of the employed respondents say their companies promote a flexible device and social media policy specifically catered to recruit young professionals.

But there is more, Millennials want to use company devices for personal use. Mixing business and pleasure is part of our lifestyle (and frankly, it would be rather silly that you still have to buy your own laptop and smartphone while you already have one for work). Furthermore, 80% would like to choose the device they use at work, by bringing a personal device or by getting money from the organization to buy their own work devices.

Either way, If you’re banning personal social media use at work, you probably already know it’s not working, but this study confirms it: More than half of respondents say if a company prohibits social media access on the job, they either wouldn’t work there, or would figure out a way to get around the policy (by using their own smartphone for social networking, for example)

Of course, policies need to be set to ensure that company devices and data are safe. You need to make sure that ALL employees (of all ages) understand and follow them. But as this survey shows, if your policies are too draconian they will blow up in your face and you will lose your competitive advantage to more progressive and flexible companies.

Instead, all companies (both large and small alike) should harness the tech savvy that Millennials bring along with them. Smart businesses are already doing so: Nearly 33 percent of the respondents who had jobs say their familiarity with social media and ability to use devices contributed to their hiring.

In any case it will cost time, money and effort, but the results will be more than satisfying and will help you keep or build a competitive advantage and prepare for the future.

Niels Van Hellemont

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Recruitment Through Social Media – What You Should Know As An Applicant

Social media are on the rise, that much is for sure. But lately, employers (ranging from private companies and big multinationals to temporary work agencies) have picked up this trend and are using social media as a tool for recruitment and selection. And why not? If it helps them find the most suited person for a job opening it’s all good right? But what does that mean for you and your presence on social networks? Here’s what you should know.

First of all, social media encompasses a lot more than just Facebook and Twitter. Social media is everything from social networks such as Facebook to blogs, podcasts, video’s (YouTube for example). It’s a lot more than you’d expect, and just about everyone with an internet connection in the western world of connected to some kind of social media platform.

Recent studies have shown that 45% of employers screen their prospects and applicants through social media. It’s not hard at all to find someone on the internet once you have a name. Just head over to Pipl.com and type in your own name and see what comes up. I was surprised how much information I shared and still share on the internet. Now, 35% of employers who screen using social media reports that they refrained from hiring someone based on their findings. That’s a huge amount of people being turned down by something on their public profiles.

Going even further, people even got fired because of something they posted on Facebook or Twitter. Just look at this image or this video. Best advice here? Don’t add your boss or colleagues on Facebook/Twitter or make sure they can’t see what you write.

Now, before you go deleting all your accounts on whatever website you registered at, relax. Studies have shown that most employers only look at LinkedIn (95%), Facebook (58%) and Twitter (42%). So be careful what you post on there, keep private things private, adjust your privacy settings accordingly, sort colleagues in lists with limited access to your profile and whatnot. More on that later.

Employers don’t just use social media to ‘spy’ on applicants. Yes, I put that between brackets because once you post something on the internet it’s basically public knowledge and you can’t take it back. You can select all the privacy settings you want on social networking sites, but the fact is, if you post it, it has the potential to be seen by someone you don’t want seeing it. Employers also use social media to find new contacts, searching specific hard to find competences, headhunting and looking for passive candidates. Social media turns out to be a tremendous asset to businesses, and not just from an HR perspective. Think about all the marketing possibilities too.

Let’s circle back to recruitment for a minute. The types of people attracted through social media are mostly middle managers, senior managers and entry-level employees. The last category makes a lot of sense, because people using all kinds of social media are young people around 20 – 25 years old. Middle managers and senior managers often get headhunted through websites such as LinkedIn where they often have extensive profiles that details their education and experience (if you’re a professional of any kind you should be on LinkedIn).

There’s plenty of social media strategies for HR purposes and how it’s connected to other business units such as marketing and finance, but that’s not the side we want to look at (nor is it what you want to know, I’m sure). You want to know what all this means for you right? Well, quite a few things actually:

First of all, it means that you’re being looked at from various angles during the recruitment process. Whereas it used to be just interviews and resumes it’s now so much more. Employers have the chance to look into your private life and they might not like what they see there.

Secondly, this also means that you have to be very mindful about what you write on your wall and what you tweet. The best advice here would be to separate your private activities from your professional life. For example, don’t add colleagues or superiors on Facebook but add them on LinkedIn, a platform you use solely for professional purposes. Furthermore, adjust privacy settings to keep your profiles public. This is especially important for Facebook, as they tend to change stuff around without telling anyone so be sure to check your privacy settings regularly (Now, for example, as they recently overhauled it).

Even when you did all these things, there’s still stuff you DO NOT post about. EVER.

  • Personal conversations (Private messaging is there for a reason)
  • Social plans (Posting ‘Gonna get drunk tonight’ will not help you in any way)
  • Don’t link social networks to each other. As I said, keep private and professional lives separate.
  • (Sensitive) Company information
  • Address and/or phone numbers
  • Anything else you don’t want shared (Passwords, answers to secret questions, …)

Thirdly, be mindful of what e-mail address you use for which purpose. Again, the rule of thumb is use one for private purposes and one for professional goals (a recruiter does look at your e-mail so don’t use hawtgurl69@hotmail.com).

Next, be careful what apps you give access to. Often people find that apps have a lot more access to their information than they thought. Be especially wary of third-party applications as you have no idea what they do with your information or who they’re selling it to (Personal information is among the highest valued resources these days and companies will pay top dollar for it).

Furthermore, untag every single photo of yourself in potentially negative situations. You have a photo where you’re lying on the ground in your own vomit with a bottle of vodka nearby? Untag! You don’t want to find your photo on Fail Blog’s ‘After 12′ section  in a couple of years.

In regards to recruitment: don’t show a outspoken bias to any single company, it might prevent their immediate competition from even considering you as an employee.

And finally, don’t connect with everyone. This is true for professional purposes but also for private goals. Don’t add people you don’t know (it’s not the same for Twitter). Having 1245 Facebook friends doesn’t make you popular or interesting. It’s just more people that have access to more information than you could possibly want. Clean out your friend list regularly, that means either unfriending some people or putting them in lists with limited access.

There, that’s about all I can come up with right now. Please remember that you will make mistakes to these rules of thumb, I know I have … there’s no shame in it, just be mindful about what you do from now on. I hope I at least made you see the impact of social media on searching for a job nowadays. Don’t hesitate to share your comments in the comment section. Now, go untag those drunken photos!

Niels Van Hellemont

PS: I posted this a while ago on my other blog, but this is a far better medium for it.


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