Category Archives: Recruitment

BeKnown: will it fail to change BeHaviour?

Since this weekend, my various social media channels have been ‘buzzing’ (pun very much intended) with ‘BeKnown’, a new Facebook app from Monster, one of the UK’s largest job boards.

The premise of the BeKnown app is simple: provide a professional networking platform within the most popular social network platform in the world, making professional use of your ‘friends’ and their connections.  Put simply, Monster is attempting to recreate LinkedIn within Facebook.



The accompanying promotional material claims that being able to use Facebook for both personal AND professional networking provides users with the convenience of having one place in which to conduct all their digital networking – and I can certainly see this.

Those who fear mixing their personal, private selves with a professional persona need not worry; BeKnown only allows connections to see the information contained within the actual application, thus avoiding exposing your professional contacts to photos of your boozy stag do in Blackpool.

So in theory, a comprehensive professional app within Facebook’s walls sounds like a great way to network with professionals and utilise your friends’ networks too, right?  I have my reservations.

As a digital marketer, I know from first-hand experience how challenging it is to change customer behaviour and pertinently, I believe that BeKnown is attempting to do just that.  Despite Facebook’s position as THE poster boy for social media, LinkedIn is by no means a small player, with over 150m members.  LinkedIn has grown organically over the last few years to become the de facto place for job seekers, networkers and recruiters to engage in professional activity.

Which leads me onto my second point: if we are to successfully change consumer behaviour, then we need to offer compelling reasons to do so – and as yet, BeKnown offers nothing different to LinkedIn.  I understand that these are very early days, but everything appears to be a carbon copy of LinkedIn, for example ‘Endorsements’ instead of ‘Recommendations’; ‘connections’, ‘experience’ etc. – there’s no dynamic unique selling point that makes me think, ‘wow, I NEED to be on BeKnown!’

Finally, BeKnown offers a ‘gamification’ element, with the issue of badges for certain tasks.  Gamification has become prevalent in social media society – apps such as Foursquare and GetGlue allow users to ‘compete’ with each other for points and badge unlocks, conveying social prestige and social currency.  But in professional terms, this aspect has been relatively untested.  One could argue that issuing users with ‘stickers’ for various professional achievements could in fact ‘cheapen’ those feats.

It’s very early days yet, and Monster seems to have invested a lot of work into a slick, well-functioning app.  However, asking users to completely change their behaviour and switch their allegiance from a very established professional platform in LinkedIn to Facebook, which has traditionally been focused on the personal rather than the professional, could be tricky indeed.

Only time will tell…

2 Innovative Digital CVs

The expanding availability of digital tools has meant that today’s job seekers can employ ever more creative, innovative and dynamic ways of grabbing the attention of prospective employers, whilst social media can help the good ones go viral.

Here are two of my favourites…

QR Code CV

Victor Petit’s phenomenal integration of QR code technology and YouTube video with the traditional CV resulted in one of the most dynamic résumés ever:


YouTube CV

Having recently graduated, Gareth Cash is looking for work as a production assistant.  The YouTube CV is starting to become more common; yet it’s rare to find videos as creative, innovative and truly charming as this one.  (Thanks to Sara Doron for bringing this to my attention!)

Top Tips for a Positive Social Media Footprint

The advent of Social Media has seen more and more of us expose our personal lives online.  From photos on Facebook and videos on YouTube, to updates on Twitter and Foursquare check-ins, our personal lives are very much in the public domain – but have you ever stopped to consider the effects of your social footprint during the recruitment process?

Whilst this practice is frowned upon (indeed, countries such as Germany are drafting law to make this illegal), as many as 50% of employers are vetting your Social Media profiles during the selection process.

But this need not be a daunting worry that stops you from enjoying Social Media – after all, we’re all adults and all of us have the right to enjoy separate professional and a personal lives.  But to ensure you manage your online presence effectively, here are some tips to ensure that when you’re looking for a job, you leave a professional social footprint.

Facebook

This is one of the sites that candidates ask us about the most, but also one of the easiest to manage.  Should you refrain from posting fun pictures of your holiday with friends?  No.  Should you refrain from posting jovial status updates laden with expletives?  Not necessarily.

i)    Go into Account Settings > Privacy Settings and ensure that all of your privacy settings are set to ‘Friends Only’.  Many people tend to leave everything publicly visible, which is the default privacy setting in many cases.  By ensuring everything is set to ‘Friends Only’, this means people who are not your friends (prospective employers, for example) will not be able to view any of your Facebook content.
ii)    Be careful who you become friends with.  It sounds obvious, but many people are frivolous when it comes to accepting new online friends.  You may get on well with friendly Lynsey in accounts, but she may very well be Facebook friends with your line manager.  If you write on Lynsey’s wall that you’re fed up with your job and have an interview on Monday, your boss will be able to see this written on Lynsey’s wall.  Be sure to keep conversations pertaining work confined to private messages and email.

Twitter

With so many people using Twitter for networking purposes, keeping your tweets set to ‘private’ can seem a pointless exercise.  Ensure that you’re aware of the following and you’ll have your Twitter footprint covered during the job seeking process.

i)    Presume that everything you write on Twitter is visible to anyone.  Which, in fact, it often is.  Twitter is very highly ranked by Google and so Google searches for your name will often pull up your Twitter profile – and recent tweets – on the first page.  If the first thing a prospective employer sees when they Google you is a tweet containing a derogatory comment, the chances are that they won’t be impressed.
ii)    When having a conversation with someone else on Twitter, be aware that @replies can be visible too!  Similar to Facebook, if you follow your friend at work, and your boss also follows both of you, an @reply between you and your friend will also be visible to your boss.  If you do want to discuss anything that could be seen as contentious, the best thing to do is say it through a direct message – or not at all!
iii)    Similarly, if you have a handful of interviews with different companies, remember that many businesses employ Social Media monitoring tools.  A tweet saying that you have had an interview with Brand X but are hoping for more luck with tomorrow’s interview at Brand Y could easily end up in front of a manager at Brand X.  Tweets like this have resulted in candidates having an offer retracted due to their lack of tact.  Ensure that you keep your personal thoughts just that – personal!

YouTube

Publishing video content has become as easy as, well, sticking a video on YouTube!  More and more of us are uploading content to YouTube, whether it’s a hilarious video of your friend after a few too many work drinks, footage of a hobby such as motor racing or simply a clip of you doing some impressions, your content is published and live on the Internet.

If you’re looking for a new role, it may prove worthwhile to review your current crop of content and see which ones do – and don’t – convey a professional appearance:

•    Videos of you delivering a knockout presentation at work = great!
•    Videos of you simultaneously drinking 6 shots of tequila in Spain = bad.

Again, privacy settings can quickly and easily be implemented.  Common sense should prevail.

Blogs

Gone are the days when mass publication was the sole preserve of impoverished writers drinking coffee and smoking furiously!  The Internet has allowed all of us to publish whatever we want – and blogs have experienced an almost meteoric rise in popularity.

Whether you blog about professional issues, hobbies or politics, your name is instantly connected to the blog your write – unless, of course, your write under a pseudonym!  We’ve seen many instances of people leaving a small disclaimer on their blog, for example, “the views expressed herein are my own and not those of my employer.”  However, if a prospective employer is rooting around and sees your blog on radical liberal politics, this may influence their views on you, regardless of the legality of making such a decision.

If you write a blog that you wouldn’t be comfortable showing to a prospective employer, make sure that you apply appropriate privacy settings during the recruitment process.

LinkedIn

‘LinkedIn’ we hear you cry?  Surely that’s a professional site that can’t convey a negative impression, right? Wrong.  Although LinkedIn does not include many details of your personal life, it does broadcast your professional life – and a bad, out-of-date profile can be just as off-putting as a negative personal site.

Just as you prepare a CV before looking for a new job, you should also ensure that your LinkedIn profile is up to scratch.  Ensure that you highlight achievements in each of your roles; ask for recommendations from current members of staff; treat your LinkedIn profile like a digital CV – after all, it’s one Social Media channel that prospective employers are justified in looking at when considering your suitability for their position.

***

These steps should ensure that, when looking for a new job, your personal Social Media presence remains discreet, whilst your professional presence is enhanced.  The underlying thing to remember is ‘use common sense’.  You may be worrying about nothing, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.  Here’s a final few points to bear in mind:

i)    Put yourself in the employers shoes – if you were hiring someone and saw this, what would I think?  If it doesn’t convey a professional opinion to you, the chances are that it won’t convey one to the interviewer either.
ii)    Think before you post anything anywhere!  This really is an effective failsafe.  If you think that what you are about to post would not sit well with a prospective employer – don’t post it!
iii)    Many of us open our hearts to friends through Social Media channels.  If you want to have a frank discussion about your employment situation or prospective jobs, the most advisable course of action is to do so through private messages or emails.

Lastly – continue having fun!  The recommendations made in this document aren’t designed to stop you using Social Media in an enjoyable way – they are intended to ensure that your personal activity is managed professionally.  Don’t be afraid to use Social Media – just ensure that employers only have access to professional social footprints.