Recently I was asked by a press contact to provide some "expert" insight into how a candidate's web 2.0 presence can make or break the candidacy's perceived legitimacy. Since our practice focus is in Software, Internet, Mobile, Digital, and bleeding edge technologies, nearly all of the candidates we work with are active on each of the major social networks. This writer was especially interested in Facebook do's/don'ts. While I'm no more an expert on this stuff than I am on the mating rituals of the Honey Badger, below are a few worthwhile points I've gathered. Pretty general stuff in the recruiting world, but would love to hear your experiences.
- If you have a Facebook page, anyone considering you as a potential hire WILL land on it. It is not the first place a recruiter turns, but it certainly makes the top three. What they find when they do could easily make or break your relationship with that recruiter and/or hirer. With that in mind, job seekers should consider Facebook a crucial component of their branding initiatives.
- The following items on a Facebook profile page cause red flags to fly. They should be regarded as potential deal breakers: racy or lascivious photos, photos that depict hard partying or overall immaturity, extreme religious or political expressions, bigotry (even if it’s in jest), unsavory or tactless humor, anything hinting at recreational drug use. These may seem obvious, but the Facebook environment lends to its users a false sense of privacy and a seemingly self-constructed ecosphere where true and embellished expression is acceptable. On many occasions our consultants have had to re-consider the legitimacy of a candidate after finding the above issues on a Facebook landing page. If you use Facebook liberally, my suggestion is to set an innocent and decent image of yourself as your profile picture and ratchet up the privacy settings to the highest degree so that guys like me can’t catch you with your pants down (so to speak).
- The same should be said for your Twitter feed. If you use Twitter with a degree of reckless abandon, lock your feed so that everyone must seek your approval before following. Whether you’re a gun-toting Republican, a tree hugging Democrat, a free-market Libertarian or a rabid Tea-Party conservative-the possibility exists that the person you hope will hire you believes in different ideals. Don’t introduce unnecessary mitigating factors and prejudices to the screening process by leaving your Twitter feed open to the public.
- The following items can help build your Personal Brand: a respectable profile picture in which you’re well-groomed or doing something that can be universally received as healthy or productive, “Interests” or “Likes” that depict your enthusiasm for and involvement in your professional community, University and/or academic affiliations and achievements, multiple languages that you speak, technical proficiencies, resume’ accomplishments, and current employer. My only caution regarding the above: make sure that what you list is truthful and consistent with what you’d present in an interview.
- LinkedIn profiles are very much worth maintaining. LinkedIn is the first stop a recruiter makes in trying to form a round opinion of your professional aptitude. Like it or not, maintaining a thorough and active presence on LinkedIn will grant your Brand early credibility with recruiters. LinkedIn offers many ways for one to showcase your industry enthusiasm and credentials, your victories, and your talents in a wholly professional ecosphere devoid of the social pressures inherent with Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, I urge candidates to view social media analogously to a credit history. A credit history showing frivolity and irresponsibility could make it impossible to buy the home or car you want, despite your current good-standing. And having no credit history will also make that loan tough to secure. Similarly, a social media presence depicting you in an unfavorable light, or no social media presence at all could cost you the job you want or need.
Elever Professional online: http://www.eleverpro.com