We recently conducted a search for a Chief Executive Officer of a public library and sought to validate and extend information we had received about potential candidates. It was shocking how few were on LinkedIn, the premier business-networking site. Once we reached the finalist stage, three of four were not on LinkedIn. We could not locate these candidates for career history or recommendations. So who cares?
We often focus on the negative side of social media but there are so many positive advantages too. As I head to a leadership institute this week, I sought to connect with the more than 40 participants and found only ten on LinkedIn. All but one of the dozen mentors was on LinkedIn. So who cares?
There are at least three reasons why every professional and aspiring leader should be on LinkedIn:
 more than 70% of positions in our field are not advertised or posted (this according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, in fact it could be higher)—how is someone to locate suitable candidates, including you
 when you are recommended for a position, and the recruiter does not know you or enough about you, how is someone to find you or find out about you if you are not on a professional site with your skills, experience and recommendations posted? Forget Facebook, Facebook is personal; LinkedIn is business, although Facebook will likely be searched too…
 especially for a beginning middle or senior manager position, what does your absence say about your knowledge about, and involvement with, social media? What conclusions might one draw, fairly or unfairly, about your not being “present” on social media? What frustration and irritation enters the equation for the recruiter when information about other candidates is readily available but you are nowhere to be found?
Social media has its disadvantages for sure. But as it becomes increasingly used to identify prospective candidates, connect with prospective candidates and investigate prospective candidates.
You are decidedly disadvantaged if you cannot be easily found.