Public Image – you are a celebrity!


In the traditional recruitment model we always asked before taking references

This was done after an offer was made.
Now that everyone is socially connected via various sites it is easy to take a quick peep and see what public opinion is saying about your candidate before the first interview.
This is good and bad. Good for you if you have been called for an interview. Your net presence must either be minimal or squeaky clean and if it is the latter, that will most definitely have gone in your favour.
If you are not being called for interview it is a good use of your time to go and check your profiles.
  • Does your LinkedIn profile reflect your CV?
  • Are the dates and job titles the same?
  • Do the job descriptions match?
  • Has anyone left you a reference and if so is it good?
What about Twitter?
  • What are you tweeting?
  • Would an employer or potential employer like it?
  • It is fine to use your social media to focus on your social time so if all your tweets are about fishing and that is your passion then so be it. But if you are tweeting in general and are overly critical, angry or rude about people or organisations is that giving the right impression? It might read that you are less than easy going and going to be difficult to get along with.
How about Facebook?
  • Are you currently employed in a nine-to-five role yet your Facebook page lists streams of Mafia Wars, Farmville or similar posts from weekday daytimes when you should be working?
  • How about your status updates? Are they upbeat, friendly, chatty and interesting or are they overly critical, angry and/or rude?
  • What about the groups you are a member of and the pages you like? Are they controversial? If you have an eclectic mix of interests that is good but if you are supporting pages that are less than kind or publicly unacceptable then a potential employer might make the wrong assumption about you.
  • Have you been posting anywhere about the long lunches, extended shopping trips and exaggerated expense claims you’ve been getting away with?
  • Are you setting up meetings with friends for social purposes during work hours when you’re not on annual leave? Are you slating your boss or current colleagues?
  • Is every photo posted from drunken nights out with you semi-conscious or behaving badly?
Any or a combination of all of these things, seen by somebody that doesn’t know you and who has no way of putting this information into the context of you being ‘the nicest person Joe Bloggs has ever met’ will count against you. That is not to say that you shouldn’t have fun, enjoy life or live your life your way, but you should consider how a stranger will perceive you from the limited information they have.
A few drunk pictures are fine, along with a lot of sober ones. The odd ‘I’m having a bad day and my boss is not my favourite person’ updates are fine interspersed with anything and everything else.
If in doubt ask your parents or a friend to ask a friend that doesn’t know you to look at your profile and give a synopsis of what they think you are like; you might just get a big surprise!
This article was the basis for a chapter of our book; Clickst@rt Your Career.

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