It’s Not Too Late for Some Spring Cleaning: Time to Dust Off Your Online Brand

Now that spring has finally arrived for most of us, the grass is growing and the flowers are finally blooming. With spring in the air and the promise of summer, companies and jobseekers alike are busy planning their vacations and planning for their futures. For some industries, summer hiring is accelerating based on seasonal business needs. Some organizations are onboarding new talent before the lazy days of summer set in and employees are taking time off. In other areas, hiring is slower or stalled completely to allow for vacations and budget reviews. All of this is good news for some social spring cleaning.

In September, we will publish the first Bersin High-Impact Talent Acquisition (TA) report that will unveil the top performance drivers of mature TA functions. It should come as no surprise that Social Media takes up some prime real estate in the report, and, in fact, (spoiler alert!) is the #3 top TA performance driver. Recruiters today are spending much of their time leveraging social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to identify and engage candidates. In turn, candidates rely on corporate social media websites to learn about organization culture, leadership, and values, as well as information on open positions. Social media now provides candidates and recruiters with that all-important first impression.

While many organizations have dedicated resources to help curate and manage their social web pages, recruiting teams are often on their own. However, recruiters represent an extension of their organizations’ employment brand and are often engaged directly by candidates. Accordingly, recruiters should maintain a credible online brand that represents the needs of the organization, as well as its core values. Because the platforms are—after all—social, recruiters need not worry about being overtly “corporate” in their posts; rather, they should post content that is relevant and interesting to their target audiences. Is it OK for recruiters to post a photo of their child’s birthday party or their latest exotic vacation destination—of course! Having recruiters hide their lives outside of work could make their profile activity appear artificial. Recruiters should be credible, engaging, and, most importantly, authentic.

Candidates need to follow the same basic rules, as their social profiles are on display for recruiters (really the whole world!) to see. Like recruiters, they should ensure their online brands complement their candidacy, not deter recruiters from engaging further.

With those guidelines in mind, I’d like to offer a few quick suggestions as you think about cleaning up or refreshing your online social brand:

·       Develop a strong online bio: Your bio should include your name, a bit about what you do, what you are looking for, and something interesting that makes you unique. If you don’t feel comfortable writing one yourself, get some help.

·       Make your content actionable and tangible: Use verbs to describe your previous work activities and be specific wherever possible.  “Responsibilities include supervising” is much less compelling than “Managed a team of 4-6 junior staff.” Similarly “increased productivity” is much less compelling than “increased productivity by 50%, resulting in an additional $1 million profitability.”

·       Check for typos and grammatical mistakes: Your online bio represents you and, just like you don’t want to meet a potential employer or candidate with today’s breakfast dotting your shirt, you don’t want someone thinking you skipped too many classes in 6th grade when it appears you don’t know the difference between its and it’s; there, their, and they’re; and too, to, and two.

·       Throw out what you don’t need: While some employers might be interested in the fact that you worked at a movie theater during the summer in high school, unless that’s your only work experience, you can probably leave it off your online bio if it’s no longer relevant to the work you do today.

·       Eliminate selfies: Recruiters and candidates should post photos of themselves—but, in this age of ready access to smart phones, it’s relatively easy to ask a friend or family member to take a nice picture.

·       Make quality connections: The numbers no longer matter—think quality, not quantity. In the social media arena, connect with individuals who can help support your needs today and in the future.

Do you have any other suggestions for developing a compelling online social brand? Please feel free to add a comment below, connect with me on Twitter @RAEricksonPhD, or by email at [email protected]
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