In the world of corporate recruiting, VMware’s team is leading the charge in terms of innovation, transparency and energy.

I started following VMware’s recruiting team on Twitter (@vmwarecareers) about eight months ago because of their responsiveness online. VMware’s recruiting team actively uses Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to engage with candidates. And many companies, which I can’t name, have unofficially looked to VMWare’s social media adoption as the role model for how they would like to invest in the future.

One of the key benefits of using social, and Facebook in particular, for recruiting is the sense of transparency. They describe the idea that although they might learn quite a bit about the personality and character of a candidate via Facebook, the same is true in the other direction. Candidates can learn about the culture of VMWare quite quickly. VMWare responds, in real time, to candidates questions. They share videos. They share other information about what it’s like to work there.

Yes, companies are still struggling to figure out how to use social for recruiting purposes. So as a job seeker, why not take advantage of this new trend.

Engage the Recruiters

One of the advantages for using social media right now is indeed that only a few people in an organization are either sanctioned or comfortable with using it. That means if you tweet or Facebook post with VMware’s recruiting team, for example, your comments and messages go right to the very people who have an interest in bringing you on board. There is not middle man.

Essentially, by asking questions or commenting with your dream company on social, you are making a b-line to the most important advocate you could have, the recruiter.

Reality check: are you following your target companies on all three networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter)? If not, do so immediately. If you don’t have target companies, you must be new to the world of Enlightened Job Seeking. Bewildered job seekers spray and pray. Enlightened Job Seekers target specific companies. Which one are you?

Do Your Homework

In a recent VMware recruiting blog post, Dee Dee Dial gave some excellent advice for candidates serious about making the best use of their job applications. With social media’s wide spread adoption, there is essentially no excuse any more for not doing your homework and understanding not just the company you are applying to, but also the people making the decision about  you.

Dee Dee talks about three critical areas to focus your online research before applying to a job.

  • Understanding the leadership: Look up the board members and executives of the company. “Gain understanding of where they come from, their role now and impact in past positions to understand how they impact the company”, Dee Dee says.
  • Uncovering the value chain: A company has to add value in the market to be successful. So try to discover why customers buy from the company, any customer success stories you can read? What other companies partner with your target company? What are the main competitive differentiators?
  • Gaining the insider’s edge: With LinkedIn, you can find out within 10 seconds if you have contacts inside of a company. And with SimplyHired’s Facebook integration, you can even find out if any of your Facebook contacts work there. Dee Dee says quite emphatically, “Call them!”.

There is no better time to be focused on your next job than now. Social media continues to confuse organizations and other job seekers. So while this get’s sorted out, you are in an advantage to build powerful relationships with recruiters who “get it”. So do the two-step with social media in your own search.