Social Media Status A New Factor In Recruitment

Many companies - particularly those involved in the media - are putting a premium on candidates with strong social media footprints when it comes to the recruitment of new staff. 

The case has been highlighted by the recent poaching of the BBC's popular chief political correspondent - and avid Twitterer - Laura Kuenssberg by ITV. Kuenssberg has a 60,000-strong army of loyal Twitter followers, and executives at ITV said that it had been a noted "additional benefit" when they were looking at recruiting her. 

Bosses at the commercial broadcaster said that her strong harnessing of Twitter as a means of engaging with her viewers was an excellent example of how they were trying to get their correspondents to engage with social media. 

Shortly after her hiring, Kuenssberg's account name had been switched from 'BBCLauraK' to 'ITVLauraK', gifting her new employer with a hefty Internet audience that she had developed through her comprehensive coverage of the general election and coalition negotiations.

The BBC made no attempt to hold on to her account as, unless there was a clause in her contract concerning her social media status, they had no legitimate claim to it and it is a largely legally untested area. 

LinkedIn profiles have in the past sparked bitter tugs-of-war between employers and departing employees, with some recruitment companies seizing the profiles of departing head-hunters and taking control of their professional profiles and contacts. 

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