Monthly Archives: June 2015

Why Using Social Media for Job Searches is a Trojan Horse

facebook-donotliketrojan horse

Last week I presented several talks at the 26th Annual Fraud Conference sponsored by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. One of my presentations was on using social media for job searches, but from a former hiring manager’s perspective. There are social media proponents who enthusiastically endorse social media sites (SMSs) for job searches, but most hiring managers will not drink the Kool-Aid. Instead, many if not most hiring managers will recommend networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and perhaps Google +. But let’s be clear–according to a recent survey of hiring managers, 50 percent use SMSs to exclude candidates from further consideration. While SMSs happily present your persona when everyone is watching, we want to know: who are you when no one is looking? Are you the same person on paper (cover letter, résumé) or in the job interview that you are on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and WordPress? The very nature of social media makes this a difficult task.

What’s the rest of the world doing for job searches? Ray Van Es, an international placement consultant, followed many professionals from university graduation into their professional careers. He found that:

  • Most who are successful and continue being successful are not active on the Internet.
  • Many do not have a LinkedIn profile, and the ones that do are not very active; social media use is restricted to interacting with a very small group of friends they know personally.
  • They are not jumping on SNSs for career purposes, but like to explore career-related apps on smartphones and other devices.
  • They build a strong profile (brand) before graduation and continue adding to it once their careers begin.
  • They prefer face-to-face networking to virtual networking

A report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences described a computer program that was able to better assess subject personalities based on Facebook “likes.” The software actually did a better job than the subjects’ self-ratings on predicting four outcomes: (1) Facebook use; (2) number of Facebook friends; (3) use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs; and (4) field of study.

This research has important implications for data analytics playing a more comprehensive role in the hiring process, particularly in up-front candidate screening. The results of predictive analytics–and not individual content and posts–may drive hiring decisions in the future because…

SOCIAL MEDIA IS A TROJAN HORSE; it is a personal information capture industry where the front end is packaged as a free social interaction application while the data/metadata you provide is the prize to advertisers, marketers, and hackers.

With the advent of phony Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, “click farms” (digital middlemen) purchase “Facebook likes” (1,000 “likes” will run you around $30.00 U.S. while 1,000 Twitter followers costs about $12) and sell them to business to boost their online ratings. There’s even software to disable Facebook cookies so the suspicious activity can’t be tracked.

In 2005, 5.5 million people were Facebook users; 6 months ago, that number grew to 1.4 billion. If social media is the power behind today’s internet, then the reliability of that power is suspect. With the Facebook spam market worth between $87 million to $390 million, advertising on Facebook (and other similar sites) with a high percentage of phony likes, fans, and followers could threaten the entire business model that’s the back end of social media.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Realize the business truth behind the social media model—don’t embrace the groupthink that SM is the “new hiring model”—professional networking sites are but one tool to help you get into the hiring process
  • Limit your exposure to only a couple of sites frequented by most hiring managers and become an expert in their use
  • Build a solid profile and build a strong presence with your choices and drill down deep and wide by:
    –Joining forums and participating
    –Posting links to articles about your industry/your blog
    –Getting endorsements from your trusted network.
  • Recommendations:
    –LinkedIn and Twitter (and/or Google +) are where hiring managers troll
    –Add a Facebook business page if you are self-employed/own a business

(some information about Facebook spam and click farms came from an article in The New Republic.)

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

How to Be the Hiring Manager’s Candidate of Choice

Speaking for a moment as a hiring manager, becoming my candidate of choice is not a matter of luck; it involves understanding my main motivation, which is to identify a candidate with a record of demonstrated—and where possible, quantified—accomplishments, which are strong indicators for future success in the position. It involves understanding that previous duties/responsibilities are of a lesser concern to me—unless those duties and responsibilities can be expressed as benefits of an expertise that led to valuable, higher-order strategic results for former employers. It means having some knowledge of my challenges, concerns, and expectations. And it means an awareness and understanding of my presuppositions, prejudices, and human factors that may come into play for evaluating potential short list candidates.

The job- or career-search strategy you employ must build on an existing professional brand that conveys to me an attitude of serving as my problem solver, solutions provider, and game changer who understands, anticipates, and responds to my business needs at every stage of the hiring process. In essence, the hiring process is always about me and what I (i.e., the team, the company) need, and never about you.

Becoming the hiring manager’s candidate of choice requires a basic understanding of an important marketing principle: What successfully connects the person with a need to the person who can fulfill that need is value. It’s the same whether you are selling vacuum cleaners, cars, or your professional expertise. If the person with the need perceives and believes that you offer real value, you have fulfilled that need and can make the sale.

The elements of the value you provide form a continuum of belief that strengthens your position as you move through the hiring process. As the hiring manager begins an assessment of your value through a cover letter and résumé, he or she begins the journey on the continuum of belief. Your value grows as you proceed to the interview stage and the hiring manager moves forward on the continuum of belief in that value you can provide.

Tagged , , , , ,

Is the Job Market Dysfunctional?

Dysfunctional

Some career management consultants believe that the job market is dysfunctional because the likeability/personality dimension of hiring is rarely addressed as a requirement in job postings. They claim this omission in job postings places candidates at a disadvantage. I disagree. Who goes into a job interview—or any social interaction—not aware of this aspect of interpersonal communication?

The human factor plays a significant role in every hiring decision, whether or not the required interpersonal skills are highlighted in job postings. Any dysfunction, when it occurs, may lie with either the candidate or the hiring manager, each of whom might fail to understand the importance of personality and likeability as they influence both the first impression and the final hiring decision.

The subjective nature of the hiring process in today’s job market is what it is, with each facet (objective assessments, intuitive reflection, subjective preference) providing the hiring manager a unique perspective on a candidate’s potential for on-the-job success.

In the grand hiring scheme, improving flaws in a cover letter and résumé are relatively easy tasks compared to eliminating personality and behavioral issues that could impede a candidate’s progress. A job interview is, after all, a social interaction, and the most salient behaviors exhibited by an applicant in such a situation are his or her social interaction skills.

Likeability is your first and last hurdle for any job or career pursuit. Likeability relates to friendliness, relevance, empathy, and “being real.” Likeability works best when it’s not forced or seen as an attempt to manipulate others. Likeonomics is simply a new term to describe the interpersonal and economic currency that connects people with other people, to new ideas, and to organizations where they share a variety of similar preferences. Likeability is connection driven. It’s a new global currency that isn’t made of paper or coin (or bitcoin) but whose denominations come in different types of relationships.

Tagged , , , , , ,