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green find job enter button (Artur Marciniec/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
green find job enter button (Artur Marciniec/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Book Excerpt

Keep a squeaky-clean online reputation Add to ...

Reprinted, with permission of the publisher, from The Panic Free Job Search © 2012 Paul Hill.

Published by Career Press, Pompton Plains, NJ. 800-227-3371. All rights reserved.

Take notice of this critically important development that affects your privacy. In June 2011, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States gave its blessing to Social Intelligence Corporation to scour social media and Internet sites to dig up dirt on employees and job applicants.

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The trend is now for employers to do background checks by checking out your Internet footprint as well as your Internet crumbs. I call “crumbs” the little stuff – things you don’t even know you left behind, such as a link between the different user names you use, or the information about your attendance at a professional conference, or the fact that you coach Little League baseball. Most sites share user name information and behavior – not actual identity – however, Social Intelligence can join the dots, identify you as the owner of the different user names, and feed it up on a platter to your potential or future employer.

Establishing your “digital cred” or ProfessionaliBrand has never been more important. Equally important is protecting your privacy in the new Web 3.0 world because employers are spying on you!

Social media and recruiting are matches made in heaven when one considers that networking is the best tool for finding work. Capitalizing on social media is becoming the recruiting method of choice for employers. The professionals that get it will have a distinct advantage over those that are still lying in the shadows with respect to creating or encouraging positive social signals about their value as potential employees. As technology is now being developed to help employers in harvesting and managing all the information about you on the Web and also tracking you (Web 3.0), as well as the social signals about potential employees, ProfessionaliBranding is critical for all professionals if they want to get noticed, get pursued, and guarantee their employment now and for years to come. New services and consultants specializing in and having the ability to capitalize on social media are popping up to help put order and manageability into Recruiting 3.0. Recruiting 3.0 is a new phenomenon precipitated by advances in technology as well as the war for talent being conducted globally. Web 2.0 was all about relationships; Recruiting 3.0 through Web 3.0 is all about how employers and others (background check firms) are tracking what you consider to be your private information trail, which is really not so private. Your trail influences your reputation and the signals you leave are being exploited for data gathering by employers. Scary, I must admit.

Globalization is forcing companies to be more aggressive in recruiting the best talent, wherever it may be in the world, and technology gives companies great recruiting breadth as well as the ability to tap into that talent and its productivity without having to relocate professionals. Case in point: Many of my service providers for my businesses work in foreign countries and deliver excellent work for me and our team. I found them through filtering social media data.

Recruiting 3.0 is about the best companies using the best recruiting practices to secure the best talent by analyzing the social signals about everything about you, including what you love, what you hate, where you shop, what sites you visit, what you say, and what others say about you. You need to realize that in the new Web 3.0 world you are being “tagged” everywhere you go, offline and online, and systems have been setup to select from the collective noise, by crunching all the data, the best potential employees from anywhere in the world to actively pursue. By being able to tap into a global pool and select the best employees with the best match in competencies, Recruiting 3.0–enlightened companies are maintaining their strategic advantage over their competitors. Recruiting is no longer limited to going after professionals who signal their interest in new employment, but rather, in theory every professional that has a footprint on the Internet is fair game. The noise these employers must filter through is all the information about all the potential employees, be they actively looking or not, throughout the world. Search and the analysis and management of this data are key to the success of any recruiting strategy, but also the filtering, capture, and analysis of social signals/data are key best practices in recruiting today.

The new job-search methodology for employers is everyone is a potential employee, if and only if employers can find you on the Internet. No longer is recruitment at the employer level focused on professionals who are actively seeking work. Applicants do not matter as much anymore; the race is on by employers to find and identify the right candidates. Will you be a proactive candidate by developing a strong ProfessionaliBrand, or will you rely on being an applicant?

Just a few years ago the great advantages headhunters had over employers was their access to professionals who were hard to come by, the so-called “passive candidate” who was employed and not actively searching for work. Now most employers have replaced their dependence on, or limited their need for, headhunters by having access to a large pool of proactive candidates that they can tap into directly with sophisticated search tools, active social media strategies, and referral reward programs, as well as sophisticated data capture and analysis tools. The competencies of the new recruiter in the Recruiting 3.0 world include the ability to use sophisticated tools and strategies to uncover the best candidates through social networking and search as well as promote his company’s recruiting brand to specific target communities of professionals. Employers need to develop their own recruiting brands just as professionals need to develop their own ProfessionaliBrand.

Fortune 500 companies are realizing the potential of Recruiting 3.0 in a big way and are integrating social media, networking, and referral tools combined with reward systems into their recruiting strategy. Case in point is MeshHire. Here is how this service geared to employers describes its service on their Website: “MeshHire is a cloud-based referral recruiting and marketing platform designed to help recruiters and human resources professionals create and manage their Talent Referral Network across social networking Websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. MeshHire serves worldwide customers from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, providing the most comprehensive social and referral recruitment solution in the industry.”

Services like MeshHire are truly changing the landscape of recruiting. Recruiting 3.0 has truly arrived. When you analyze Sarah E. Needleman’s Wall Street Journal article “Recruiting 3.0: Web Advances Change the Landscape, you clearly come to the conclusion that Recruiting 3.0 was only in its infancy in 2008. Recruiting 3.0 has matured and is a force that has to be recognized by professionals because it combines the power of numerous channels including the Web, e-mail, social networking, blogs, audio, podcasting, video, live streaming, video conferencing and video interviewing, broadcasting, social media data management and mining, online referral reward systems, and the power of stealth tracking and the power of search to complete the 3.0 recruiting stew. It should be noted that the information employers garner from these channels as well as the connections they make online are the precursors to an employer taking the relationship offline and meeting with you. Even this step of meeting with potential employees is beginning to be relegated more and more to video interviews. Most eye-opening, however, is that some employee–employer relationships are truly happening virtually.

Work interactions are happening in a truly virtual world such as Second Life where IBM workers interface as Avatars. Even interviews are being conducted “Avatar to Avatar,” as reported in the Wall Street Journal, such that company Avatar representatives (from Microsoft, Verizon, and others) are interviewing Avatar candidates for jobs in real space (sounds weird to have to say “real space” to identify terra firma). To avoid being left behind, you need to accept that job search has come a long way from simply attaching your resume to an e-mail and sending it out. Okay, maybe Second Life was or is a bit ahead of its time and Avatar interviews are not catching on, but the fact that employers are experimenting with all types of new technologies just means that they will continue to do so, and you must be able to differentiate between what is a fad and what is a trend and take the necessary action. Some of the best jobs in the world may no longer be available to you unless you embrace becoming a Recruiting 3.0–friendly candidate through ProfessionaliBranding.

In order to guarantee your income, the facts clearly require a new job search strategy. This is why I created the concept of the ProfessionaliBrand to differentiate it from your PersonaliBrand. As you now can clearly understand managing your professional image online and ProfessionaliBranding are critical to your employability. Influencing the professional message about you so others don’t create one for you is also critical to your future success in getting hired. How do you determine what message your ProfessionaliBrand should clearly communicate? Well, that is easy. You have already done all the work.

As you have now come to realize, a ProfessionaliBrand that is managed, can help you; left unmanaged it can hurt you, and having none leaves employers to form their own opinion of your personality, sociability, and technical savvy. Many employers want technically savvy professionals and they are using Recruiting 3.0 as the vehicle to find them, so if they cannot find you online, they most likely will not be calling you.

Your goal is to build a ProfessionaliBrand that is so compelling that it acts as an irresistible offer so that employers will find you and offer you jobs, so you never, ever have to look for a job ever again.

Developing a compelling ProfessionaliBrand is about announcing and promoting to the world the unique professional you, what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. It is about making your SCA come alive publicly by leaving an extended, impactful Internet footprint in an engaging manner so that it is viewed frequently. It is about telling the world’s employers what you love to do and how you can make the world a better place by doing your best. It is about getting paid for doing what you love, doing what fits for you, and not compromising on your values and driving forces. It is about being open and flexible to entertain any offer where your uniqueness can benefit others. It is about being a proactive job searcher. It is akin to putting your job search on steroids, 24/7, each and every day, forever, without actually looking for a job but rather being open (proactive) to entertain offers. It is about making the online you so attractive that you become a candidate to those employers that are alerted to you rather than you having to chase jobs through the conventional applicant route.

ProfessionaliBranding is also about communicating a consistent and reliable message throughout all your channels. Your channels include email, LinkedIn profile, iResumePro with unique domain name, Internet video resume, social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blog, and many others. Building an effective irresistible offer through ProfessionaliBranding takes time. It is like planting a seed: You need to find a spot, till the soil, water and enrich the soil, plant your seed, and then protect and provide for your seed and young plant before it turns into a viable and robust plant. You cannot expect to plant a seed today and harvest tomorrow. The same is true with developing your ProfessionaliBrand. The quicker you get started, the quicker you will reap the harvest of being offered jobs.

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