Social Media Profiles and the Interview

A Reference for Interviewers and Interviewees

Tweeting, sharing, posting, tagging. If you’re like most Americans today, chances are these small behaviors make up a large part of your Internet time. Social media has become an influential and pivotal part of everyday life. It is helping people stay connected in ways never before thought of. It’s helping people share ideas, find new companies to support and, well, it’s also helping people to research other people.

More and more hiring managers are using the power of Google (or other search engines) to find out about potential candidates. The same goes for the flip side, as well, as many job seekers are turning to social media to research the company, its manager and potential hiring managers who will be conducting the interview.

Sounds like a convenient little tool, right? Right. It’s also potentially detrimental, especially to the job seeker. According to CareerBuilder, 43% of hiring managers have taken a candidate out of the running for a job due to social media. Here are the top reasons:

  • Inappropriate photos

○      Racy photos

○      Photos of drug use, abuse of a person or animal, or any other illegal activity

  • Posts or tweets about drinking or drug use
  • Speaking poorly against previous employers
  • Poor communication (think grammar and spelling)
  • Bigotry
  • Lying about qualifications

You may be lucky, though, especially if you’re social-media self is as professional and qualified as your interview self. Here are some tips for your public social media profiles during the job-seeking process:

  • Keep your profile pictures tasteful
  • Fill out your personal information in a professional or tasteful manner
  • Show support to things you love which would also be interesting to a hiring manager
  • Check your spelling and grammar
  • Update your professional qualifications

Having at least one public profile is a great way to show off your skills, some of your hobbies and your achievements. In addition, it’s a great way to give interviewers a little taste of who you are prior to the interview which can help break the ice and offer a bit of help if the interviewer likes what she sees on your profile.

However, like many of us, social media can get out of hand and you may use it more for connecting with people who share the same out-of-work hobbies as you. If you have items on a social media account that you think may be seen as offensive by anyone, adjust your privacy settings. Once it’s been seen by the hiring manager, chances are it will be difficult for them to unsee during the interview.

How to Engage Hiring Managers Using Social Media

This post was written by Joshua Waldman and was originally seen on the Career Rocketeer blog

You’ve probably figured out by now that seeking work through job boards can give you mixed results. I’ve heard some experts claim that for every job opening on a job board, an average of 300 people are submitting resumes to that same job.

To make matters even more frustrating, the longer you wait to reply, the less chance you have of getting considered.

In a conversation I had with a local business owner, he said that he gets totally overwhelmed with resumes within just an hour after posting a job. The chances of your hitting “submit” on a random online job opening within the first hour are negligible.

Why not just talk to people?!

Engagement

At the end of the day, it’s people who make the hiring decisions. Sure, these people have to follow HR processes, and these processes may get in their way.

In many cases, hiring managers welcome actual conversations with actual human beings (rather than lifeless resumes), especially if the candidate is interesting, talented, and qualified.

So, don’t wait for jobs to get published. By engaging directly with hiring managers, regardless of whether their company has posted jobs, you not only grow your network, but also earn the right to flag your résumé for special treatment later when a job pops up.

LinkedIn Groups Connections

Think of groups as a virtual version of an industry conference. If you’re a member of a large and active industry group, you’ve got a great platform for engagement.

Here are some Group guidelines:

  • Begin your involvement with a Group by commenting constructively on a discussion topic.
  • Pay attention to Group members. Don’t be shy to click on the profiles of people who contribute. They might turn out to be new connections for you, for info interviews or maybe more.

Display the names and logos of your industry / professional Group memberships on your LinkedIn Profile.

Also check out the job search groups which are for LinkedIn members engaged in job search.

Successful LinkedIn inMails

LinkedIn has reported over 185 million users. Unless you are looking for work in an under-represented industry, a decision-maker has a profile there.

But before you go gung-ho and start inMailing them, consider these guidelines:

  • A hiring manager is not going to reply to someone who has only a half-hearted profile.Be sure you’ve got a complete and professional profile before engaging. Believe me, they check!
  • People with jobs are busy. That means messages that are irrelevant to their immediate problems won’t get much attention.Do some research and find a way to be relevant.
  • No one likes talking to someone who’s desperate. InMails, tweets, or Facebook messages that show desperation are promptly deleted – for example, “I really want to work there, can you help?”
  • No one likes talking to someone arrogant. The opposite of desperate is cocky.How on earth can you know whether you are a “perfect match” for a job if you haven’t even spoken to the hiring manager?

Currently, you need a LinkedIn “premium” account to send inMails, although you don’t need one to receive them. (More information about premium accounts.)

Engaging on Twitter

Twitter is the ultimate level playing field. Here you can tweet with authors, CEOs, customer service reps, or celebrities.

Don’t expect engagement until you earn it. Just like a big networking event, you can’t just barge in and ask random people for favors.

Here are some ways to put a deposit into someone’s social bank account:

  • Using Twitter, retweet messages from companies you want to work for, or from people you’d like to add to your close network.
  • Find articles and tweet them with an @reply to alert that twitter user that you’ve shared something with them in mind.
  • Interrupt conversations with twitter users and add your own voice or opinion.
  • Join tweetchats related to your field and pay close attention to active twitter accounts. After the chat, compliment them on their ideas.

After a while, you earn the right to Direct Message (DM) them, and you can ask for an offline conversation.

Engaging on Facebook

Many organizations use Facebook Pages to promote their brands to potential candidates. Not only do they post open jobs there, but these pages are often maintained by various members of their recruiting organization.

Before Liking or commenting on these pages, be sure to follow the following guidelines:

  • Post a personal yet professional profile picture. It doesn’t have to be the same as your buttoned-up LinkedIn picture – no one expects that – but it should be of you in a fun and presentable pose. (And remember your Timeline Banner too!)
  • Visit your “About Me” page and fill it in with as much detail as you can about your education and work history. Be sure these elements are set to Public.
  • Begin by Liking the page of your target company.
  • Next you can slowly introduce yourself to the community by commenting on posts and sharing posts.
  • If the page will allow it, post interesting comments on their Timeline that highlight your qualifications.

Of course, don’t forget that as you are looking at the company’s Facebook pages, they will probably be looking at your Facebook pages, too…

Bottom Line

Social media connections are not a quick fix, but neither are job boards, as you have probably noticed. And social media enable you to develop a stronger network that can help you with your career as well as your next job search.

 

Joshua Waldman is an Author, Speaker and Trainer specializing in helping people re-gain control of their careers in today’s economic and technology climate. As the author of “Job Searching With Social Media For Dummies”, he enjoys presenting keynotes and workshops on personal branding, online reputation and advanced LinkedIn strategy. With the mission of helping professionals break away from outdated and ineffective job-searching strategies, he runsCareerEnlightenment.com, a successful career blog. Joshua has been featured on ABC News, Mashable, International Business Times and Simply-Hired. For more information about Joshua or his book visit:http://careerenlightenment.com/book

What is Career Branding?

This is a post that was originally featured on Career Rocketeer, written by Ian Levine.

Personal Branding (PB) + Relationship Capital (RC) = Career Branding (CB)

PB + RC = CB

Why does this matter?

The answer is simple.  If you work the formula you will have more successful career branding!

The time to build a network is when you are seeking nothing in return. If your objective is to time results, you will most likely come up short of goals because your relationships will be all short term, results oriented.   Thus any “relationships” will lack depth and breadth.  What you really need to do is position for the “whenever”.   You position for the “whenever” by building Relationship Capital before you need it.

Obviously, the unemployed are at a significant disadvantage to maximize an effective Career Branding campaign because by definition they have an immediate need for results.  Thus their ability to build Relationship Capital is limited.

The unemployeds’ immediate need for results has lead to the proliferation of LinkedIn advisors that make two strong recommendations.

1)      Build a large network of connections fast.

2)      Come up with a slick LinkedIn tag line

Concept 1

An artificial network is effectively a “spray & pray” marketing technique. There are numerous LinkedIn webinars or services that suggest (or actually help) build large LinkedIn networks instantly through variousInmail and aggressive “Group joining techniques”. Our opinion is that this does not represent a strategic job search and offers very little true utility in finding work faster.  It certainly can work and you could also win the lottery today and thus not be reading this article.  Creating artificial networks is counter to our formula for Career Branding.

Concept 2

Over the last several years, the unemployed have been coached to change their LinkedIn profile headline to titles like:

  • Quality Guru
  • Sales Superstar
  • Digital Print Expert
  • Online Marketing Sherpa

Career Brander definitely recommends and respects the attempt to clarify one’s specialty and create a personal brand.  A succinct and accurate LinkedIn headline is a good idea, however this is simply a beginning, and the real work is getting the personal association of the title in the marketplace. The mistake people make is waiting until they are looking for a new job to address their personal brand.  Brands are earned not instantly accepted!

The trick is to build the personal brand over time and then match it to one’s networks of connections/relationships.

Think about a salesperson cold calling a prospect.  If a sales person cold calls prospects, saying we are the best at “X” and asking for orders, they will fail 999.9 out of 1000 times.   This is not how “buyers” are wired and is a fairly ridiculous approach.   The prospect has not been nurtured.  The sales person is not a known entity and thus the recipient of the call has no inclination to listen or necessarily believe anything they are saying.  There is no reason for trust and trust is implied in every purchase!  The same principle applies to job search.

Successful salespeople (and companies) brand themselves by building relationships BEFORE they need them.  Career branding is no different.  Relationships are best built before one party in the relationship has an immediate pending need.  Trust is built by non-threatening exchanges that are not self centered.  The exchanges need to offer something to the other party such as knowledge, connections or other learning’s.  This principle is why, Career Brander does not advocate Linking on LinkedIn just to build out a network, but rather Linking based on real relationships.   Perhaps a Luddite’s view; but an on-line relationship is generallynot nearly as deep as a more traditional personal one that has relationship capital build through non-cyber means.  There are exceptions, but just connecting on LinkedIn does not represent Relationship Capital.

Personal Brands and Relationship Capital are earned.  They take time to develop and require continual and consistent re-enforcement to build and become meaningful. They cannot be instantly achieved through LinkedIn profile headlines, cold calling, artificial social networks, or introductory emails.  Start now and invest time to PB and RC every week.

If you look at your peers, those who cycle through successful career positions without extended job searches, they have mastered the PB + RC = CB formula.

Let’s relook at the formula at this articles beginning.

Personal Branding (What you are known for.)

+

Relationship Capital (Your network and how committed are they to you based on historical actions and interactions.)

Equals

Career Branding

Ian Levine is a leading authority and frequent speaker on sales optimization techniques.  As the founder ofCareer Brander he applies sales and marketing techniques to Career Branding and Job Search.  Career Brander’s Job Search Radar, is a robust tool that integrates Hoover’s premium content, social networks and web agents into an effective career transition platform.  You can read additional personal branding, job search and career articles by Ian Levine on the Career Brander Blog.


How to Use Grassroots Efforts to Get Your Foot in the Door

Okay, it’s time to have some fun and think outside of the box. If you are doing what everyone else is doing to find a new position, then your resume may be getting lost in the 3 inch stack of resumes on the corner of the hiring manager’s desk.

 

First things first, network. Use the power of relationships to find a back door into a company. Attend local networking events, chapter or association meetings, or industry conferences. When meeting people let them know that you are in the market for a new position, if they are willing to chat, share your qualifications with them and what type of company you are looking to work for. Ask if you can follow up, send your resume, and if there’s any way you can support them (and be sure to do it if you can).

 

Social media. Find the big players in your industry through social media sites like Linked In and Twitter and engage in a conversation with them. Once you know that you’ve noticed them, open the door to take the conversation offline and see if there’s a way you can provide your resume, take them to lunch to pick their brain, or some other creative way.

 

Make friends with recruiters and staffing companies. These people have first hand contacts with employers who are looking for quality people. Let the recruiters know you are looking, what you are qualified for, and how you can contribute to their clients companies.

 

Regardless of what strategy you use, in a crowded marketplace, finding something creative to help you stand out could be the difference between getting a job and not getting one.