We know what you did last summer, but should we? Keep your electronic footprint clean
When you go looking for a holiday, you probably look online at the resort first. The same is true with restaurants, products, and just about anything else we are interested in. Our first stop is the internet to gather information and see what other people think about whatever it is we are interested in.
The same is true for the job market. When you are a candidate looking for a job, it is very likely that your prospective employer will look at you online. It is probably the step between the CV and the call for interview, or after the call for interview but before you meet the person.
If you are applying for a job, then you are probably going to look at the company first. You will look at the website, check out the managers on LinkedIn and search the Twitter feed. For the employer, that means to get the best team and the top rank candidates they should probably consider how they appear online.
Online is a stepping stone in the introduction process
While we all know that online is not everything that the person or company is, the fact is that now it is a stepping stone in the introduction process. To put that into perspective, maybe 15 years ago the process would have been: application – interview – offer, which means the first view and proper introduction would be the interview. First impressions happened in person. Now that process goes, application – digital footprint – interview – offer. Where we used to say that first impressions mattered at interview (which obviously they still do), we now say your online profile matters just as much because it is also used to make judgements about who you are.
What all this means is that you need to make sure that when someone looks at your online footprint, and your social media in particular, you look like you want them to see you. So here are five things that both candidates and employers could do to make sure they are seen correctly.
- Check your levels of security regularly. All the social media platforms have filters that mean you can control what is seen by whom.
- Don’t post the embarrassing stuff publicly. Keep what you did in Ibiza last year to your friends. What seems like a laugh to you could be seen very differently by someone else. The same is true about humour – keep it within most people’s idea of clean.
- Stay out of arguments about politics, religion and so on. Have an opinion by all means but don’t get into slanging matches and drop out when discussions get tense.
- Never vent your feelings about your current employer. Firstly, it never looks good to the new one because if you did it before you could do it again, and secondly, your current contract probably forbids you from doing it.
- Update regularly. Make sure you add new skills and make sure you have a recent photo so that if the employer does look for you, they can find the real you, not the one from 10 years ago.
- Keep everything up to date.
- It helps if the managers are visible online. Candidates like to know who they will be meeting and who they will be working for.
- Post regularly on the main platforms and remember to post the fun stuff. Money is not the whole story for a candidate. In fact, many surveys show that they are more interested in strong management and to have a good place to work. The pictures of the team celebrating the last success will give them an idea what kind of company you are.
- Pictures and video will work. Happy teams in photographs and videos of the workplace really celebrate who you are but…
- Be careful what you post and check who tagged you in. The same rule applies here as it does with candidates.
It’s important to look good online
In the current job market it is more important than ever that you look good online. When an employer is hanging in the balance between two candidates, or a candidate is considering whether they really want to move jobs, looking right online could be the one of the things that makes the decision.