I work with recruiters to help them get the best out of technology and social media and I have done so for almost 15 years. I’ve seen all sorts of changes brought on by the digital age. I often debate with recruiters and their clients/talent about how they should behave online and the risks/opportunities this digital world now brings.
What do you look like?
Think about your overall online persona – when was the last time you “Googled” yourself? Be honest (probably recently?) Recent studies show that over 82% of employers check out their shortlisted candidates online before making them an offer.
Every week I hear a case study from a recruiter about someone who has been rejected by one of their clients due to the client checking out the person online and making a decision not to progress.
You can argue the fact that employers shouldn’t check you out online, but they do. If they see something they don’t like, they’ll pass you over for someone that either has a “better” profile, or perhaps worse, someone that they can’t see online at all.
How to avoid being rejected by employers
Make a note of each of your online profiles (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc…) and the odd system you signed up to years ago which you have totally forgotten about and remember that Google has a VERY long memory. Get cleaning – look for at least these 5 things:
1. Those pictures of you wearing a mankini for the Leeds Half Marathon (I have memories of not having the energy to get past a man who was wearing one for my 1st Leeds half – boy, did I train harder for the next one!)
2. Gaps in your LinkedIn profile – these will scream at a prospective employer and recruiter – they may even mean that you’re not contacted at all!
3. Have a Twitter account? Assume that you’re allowed to say what you like and retweet close to the bone content as it isn’t an endorsement? I don’t buy this and you should understand that not everyone agrees with this “privacy” you feel you have. Equally they may not even understand what a retweet is. If you name is right next to content which could be considered offensive, you’ll be associated with it.
4. Are you an over-sharer (and in office hours?) Imagine your ideal employer checking you out and seeing that you’re pretty active during office hours… how will that look to them? What kind of employee do they imagine you’ll be?
5. What does your network online look like? Bear in mind that any groups you’re a member of, and Facebook pages you like, the people you follow on Twitter – all of this is publicly accessible stuff and you could be judged on it. Having what appears to be a poor network may count against you if it’s important to your employer that you “know your stuff”. Some of the more extreme networks will definitely get your removed from the employer’s shortlist.
I’m not suggesting that you become uber-professional and boring online. You can maintain a fun personality online whilst demonstrating your offering. Take a little time to check yourself out online – even if you’re not actively looking for a new role. You never know who’s looking at you and how it could change your life… for the better.
Lisa Jones is Director of Barclay Jones, who work with Recruiters to help them grow their businesses through recruitment technology, social media and social recruiting. You can learn more about Barclay Jones by visiting their website: www.barclayjones.com.