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Why contractors should check out clients on social media

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Wednesday 24th Aug, 2016

Social media is now one of the biggest and best tools there is for finding out information or gaining a better understanding of a situation, which is why so many businesses regularly use it to learn more about the people who apply for placements with them.

Research published by Jobvite as part of its Recruiter Nation Survey 2015 revealed that a huge 92 per cent of companies in the UK use social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to check out prospective candidates to make sure they look professional before offering them a job.

Three per cent of the recruiters questioned by Jobvite even admitted to using networks such as Vimeo, Snapchat, Tumblr and Periscope to assess suitable candidates, showing in just how much detail businesses are looking at workers online before considering awarding them a contract.

But limited company contractors, freelancers and other self-employed workers shouldn't feel that they are being unfairly scrutinised by organisations. Instead, they should be applying the same principles to assessing clients before agreeing to work with them.

Here are three reasons why contractors should be checking out potential clients on social media.

Gain a better understanding of the client's needs

The majority of businesses now have an active presence on social media, with most having a team that is solely dedicated to managing their online communications and image.

Twitter itself published research earlier this year that showed 35 per cent of its users now use the platform for professional purposes, showcasing their companies' abilities, skills and company culture via the social networking site.

Not only does this help them to advertise their business to workers interested in securing a contract with them, but it also helps contractors and other applicants to gain a greater understanding of their specific needs and what their goals are.

What's more, contractors can make enquiries and begin to build professional relationships with businesses via these platforms, with Brian Lavery, European head of marketing for small and medium-sized businesses at Twitter, stating: "What this research has also shown us is that there's also a great opportunity for people on Twitter to make an impact with potential employers.

"By doing simple things like paying attention to your bio and photo and tweeting about things relevant to your industry, you can make yourself stand out and catch the eye of the company you've always wanted to work for."

Get an insight into their company culture

Looking up a potential client on social media also allows contractors to gain a better insight into their company culture so they can assess whether or not they will be a good fit together.

Culture is a growing area of focus for many organisations, with businesses wary of wasting money on hiring someone who is not the right fit for their company.

With this in mind and to add the highest level of value possible to clients, contractors should do their research on LinkedIn and other social media platforms to make sure they are not wasting their own or the client's time when applying to work with them.

Are others proud to work there?

In addition, searching for a potential client on social media can help contractors to determine whether other staff are happy to work for a particular organisation.

Contractors should look out for what employees are saying about the company, whether they seem happy after a day at work or if they never even mention the business online before making a judgement about whether the firm is right for them.

It's also worth checking the times of day that employees at the organisation post status updates or photos online. For example, if they only ever seem to post very late at night or not at all, this may be a sign that they have little free time.

Therefore, contractors should always assess whether or not they feel a client will allow them to achieve their preferred level of work-life balance before agreeing to a contract - after all, the power of choosing this is one of the main reasons many limited company contractors decide to work for themselves in the first place.