[IMGCAP(1)]Social media has become a very useful tool for both small and large firms to attract new accounting hires.

In a recent interview with Accounting Today, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. CEO James Quigley stated that Facebook, Twitter and other sites are “…channels we use for resumes and screening for potential hires.” But before committing resources to a social media initiative, accounting firms should consider the following advice:

1. What is the objective? Some firms may use social media to attract new hires only. Others may review an applicant’s Facebook or Twitter information as part of the screening process. The business should be clear on its purpose for leveraging this avenue.

2. Be cautious. Some applicant profiles display age, race, religion and other attributes, which could be perceived as a violation of federal discrimination laws. Businesses should take precautions to ensure their screening process does not violate these laws.

3. Review state laws. Some states have laws on how employers can use social media in their hiring process. The accounting firm should check their local regulations to avoid any issues.

4. Do not prejudge if the applicant does not have a site or page. With the proliferation of hacking and identity theft, some individuals opt out of social media. This does not necessarily reflect their technical aptitude or their ability to function within an accounting firm.

5. Leverage sites for professionals. LinkedIn has become a de facto standard for professionals to post their employment profiles and build on peer networking. An accounting firm should consider joining both national and local industry groups where potential new hires could be members. Also, when setting up the company profile on a professional site, the business should carefully consider the keywords used so that the right job seekers can find the accounting firm easily.

6. Embellishments happen. Often, individuals use social media to display their creativity or as an outlet for their imagination. And in some cases an individual may not be completely forthright in their Facebook profile. Therefore, the business should take into consideration these factors and decide whether it is acceptable for persons to have non-work-related information on a social media site that is not necessarily accurate.

7. Use the search. By searching for the accounting firm’s name on social media sites like Twitter, it is possible for the company to find potential new hires who would like an opportunity. Recruiters can then contact the person via the site and determine if the prospect is viable.

Social media is growing in the accounting profession, especially with the need for accountants who are tech-savvy. By using popular social media sites, firms of all sizes can attract, recruit, and hire highly qualified candidates with very little investment.

This article was written by Karen Neal, an expert in the Human Resources category at www.yoexpert.com.

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