My thanks to the Human Resource Association of Greater New Haven for the invitation to speak to that group last week on the topic of social media and employment law.  HRAGNH is an affiliate of SHRM and with nearly 60 attendees, we had a packed house for the event.

When I’ve given such talks in the past, I’ve always been a little disappointed that more people aren’t using social networking tools for their job searches or for recruiting talent.

But I had no such disappointment here — I’d estimate that about 90 percent of the crowd was already using LinkedIn and Facebook for business or personal use.  (Twitter trailed behind considerably and just one brave soul was using Google Wave). 

In fact, in my conversations with attendees, I was struck by the consistent two-fold message that recruiters and human resources professionals conveyed about social networking sites.

First, if you’re a job seeker and aren’t on LinkedIn, you might as well be invisible because you aren’t going to pop up when companies are looking for candidates.

And for employers, if you don’t have an active online social media presence and aren’t using LinkedIn to find candidates, you might as well be invisible because you don’t exist to many qualified job seekers who are looking for companies that understand technology and are utilizing it to gain a competitive advantage. And you aren’t going to be finding talent that can help your company.  

Several attendees were quick to note that some companies still needed some convincing about the utility of using social media for human resources purposes.  For example, many of them are fearful of the use of LinkedIn Recommendations. 

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll discuss the use of LinkedIn recommendations further and take a fresh look at the subject that I covered over the summer

in the meantime, the informal survey of HRA members shows that social networking has not only made inroads, but has definitely moved towards the mainstream.