Saturday, December 13, 2014

What's In Your Profile? More Than You Know.

Back in the old days delving into the back ground of a potential employee, consultant or coach was an arduous process at best. It meant a few hours on the phone or trying to track down mutual acquaintances and even then it was a flip of the coin. You had to rely on hunches and intuition and say a prayer that your "gut" was right.

But thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, who led the way with Facebook,  I know all I need to know about you, your habits and whether I am going to be doing damage control with a client or customer if I hire you or choose to do business with you.

What's maddening is that if I were a gambling person I'd say this is the millionth blog or article written about this issue and I am always surprised when I have to tell someone that their profile picture or some postings on their social media sites aren't really helping them in their career endeavors.

"Yeah well John, my profile is set to private so if you aren't a BFF you cant see what I am doing. "

True, but even private Facebook pages show your profile picture and depending on your settings they may show a bit of your profile page. And if your profile picture is inappropriate or provocative in nature I'm going to advise a client of mine to think twice about hiring you.

Let me give you two examples:

Candidate A is being considered for a position that has access to private and confidential information. She will be working with the organizations executives. Recently she lost a significant amount of weight and began working with a trainer. She was proud of her achievements  and I would have given her a thumbs up for her self discipline and dedication and would have put her in "please consider column" until I saw her profile picture and the comments that went with it. Candidate A was wearing an outfit that  left very little to the imagination. She set that photo as her profile picture.   Some were inappropriate and some were suggestive. To each comment Candidate A replied with either a heart icon, a hug icon or a smiley face. 

Candidate B is Organizational Development Coach and Consultant who is being considered for a six figure contract with a large company. His Facebook page states he is a body builder. It's his hobby and passion and from looking at his pictures you can tell he invests a lot of time in maintaining his physique. His profile picture shows him in a thong striking a pose. I'll leave your imagination to guess some of the comments concerning what he was wearing. His return comments suggested that some of his fans try to satisfy their curiosity

Playful banter between friends? Maybe. But if you remember nothing else remember that very little of your life is private any more. Do a Google search on yourself and if you are active in the G+ community you will find your most recent postings beneath a picture of yourself  in the right hand column.

Whether you are seeking a new job, a promotion or a new client it is and will remain a buyers market for some time to come. Employers and clients can afford to be selective. I know because companies often pay people like me to delve into peoples back grounds before they offer them employment or a contract.

Is it right? I think it's more reactive than anything else. Even if you aren't a football fan you know about the domestic violence issues the NFL has.  Don't give a hoot about the NBA? But you do recall the players who were suspended for bringing fire arms into the locker room a few seasons back. Major league baseball and the whole steroids issue? A celebrity had her smart phone hacked and the whole world saw photo's she said were private and taken for her boy friend.

Employers and potential  clients sit back in their chairs, scratch their chins and think, "Gosh, my business couldn't survive a hit like that. We'd go under."

Twenty yeas ago we used a telescope. Today we use a microscope.

We invest a lot of time talking about funneling traffic to our web sites and converting that traffic into business. At the top of every web page are those social media icons that lead the world to our inner world. They should be representative of who we are and what we think and believe.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no prude nor do I advocate censorship. I'm just practical. If you want to work in a certain area with a certain group of people then you have to adhere to their standards. It's that simple.

I suggest you evaluate your social media sites at least weekly. If you'd like a set of guidelines employers and clients look at drop me an email. Same holds true for employers of clients. If you'd like to know what you need to be looking for, I'll send you the same report.

BTW: Those examples I shared. They are true stories. I rearranged a few details to protect some privacy but the core of those situations is accurate. So is the fact that neither reached their goal of working with the people they'd applied with.