Talent Connection Episode 35: The Social Job Search: To be, or not to be?

Talent Connection Episode 35 from Come Recommended on Vimeo.

The following is an approximate transcript. 

Christina: Hello and thank you for joining Episode 35 of Talent Connection, a podcast about connecting job seekers and employers, produced by Cachinko.  My name is Christina Barkanic, Multimedia Director at ComeRecommended, standing in for Heather Huhman. I’m joined by my co-host, Tony Morrison.

Tony: Thank you and good morning Christina.  As Christina said, my name is Tony Morrison, and I am the vice president of business development for Cachinko. We operate a free job matching and career networking application on Facebook. Our goal is to help job seekers find jobs they’ll love through the people they know and trust.  We also develop online recruiting solutions for employers to build talent communities that help them to find, attract, and engage top candidates for their open positions.

Christina: Today’s episode is “The Social Job Search: To be, or not to be?”  Let’s get started, Tony.  This weekend a concise blog post entitled, “Top 3 mistakes job seekers make on Facebook Timeline” was published on Mashable.com. What was the intent for the article?

Tony:  Well the intent for the article was to list a few of the mistakes that job seekers might make with the Facebook timeline. There are greater than 845 million users who are on Facebook worldwide. Facebook is rolling out its timeline. It’s going to make this a mandatory conversation for all users. Many of these users will use the timeline well, or they will complain about it. So some of the mistakes that we are seeing right now, and this is my opinion on these mistakes, are that users are whining about the timeline. It didn’t matter what changes or how inconsequential these changes may be in the past. There were users who complained about it, and they complained about it openly among their own networks. And then they threatened to leave Facebook, and maybe the did leave or maybe they stayed. Many of these people refused to accept or adjust to those changes. So another mistake is not adjusting to those changes and making the best of it. There were some really great comments from some of the users. We can go over some of those comments in detail in a little while if you’d like. But some of the comments were about accepting the timeline for what it is. And is whining about the timeline useful to Facebook? Absolutely, it is. Facebook should take the comments and make adjustments to its site in order to make the best social networking platform possible. But rather than whining about it and refusing to adjust to the changes being made, my intent was to have the users learn as much as they could about the timeline. They already invested in creating their Facebook profile  and they should try to get the most out of their Facebook profile. Also if they neglect to make those changes to their profile, changes like covering up some of their posts, comments from some of their friends that may have, what I like to refer to as a non-clinical form of turrets. If there is something that they want to cover up on their timeline, they should take advantage of making the best possible representation of their personal brand. And then also I suggested that if you find information or content that is unique about you that you want to uncover and feature in your timeline, then you need to take advantage of what Facebook is offering you. Some of these useful bits of your personal history are a valuable part of your personal brand.

Christina: You received numerous comments supporting and rejecting the Facebook Timeline, and whether or not the advice is still warranted.  What is your reaction to the responses on this article?

Tony:  These are some really great comments. Some people said, ‘great article’ or ‘this content is useful.’ I think it’s always going to be useful. It doesn’t matter if it’s Facebook or some other social networking site. You’re always going to have to stay on top of privacy settings. You’re always going to have to make adjustments to your privacy settings to make sure your brand is protected. I think one of the comments in particular about the article not being very well rounded. This is a difficult area to cover. Making sure that your social media presence is pristine is a difficult task. It’s challenging. But maybe some of the other comments said you shouldn’t sanitize your social media presence. Maybe that’s a valid comment too. Maybe making the statement that sanitizing your presence seems dishonest. All of these are good comments that were made and my intent was not to sanitize the content, but the same person you want to be in your interview should be the same person you are in social media profile. And just like your LinkedIn profile is a very professional profile and you are only talking about yourself professionally, Facebook may be your personal profile but you obviously don’t want to present information about yourself that would be an embarrassment to you or any of your friends. So it’s being the same person you want to be, the good person you want to be, whether people are looking or not. And as we’ve seen in the news, privacy settings change and people may be surprised on what’s available to their friends, to their friends’ friends and to people who are looking for them publicly. If they are being googled and they are found, and some content that is maybe questionable is uncovered, it could reflect poorly on them. Or it could be content that was meant in jest or in humor. But because its taken out of context, it could reflect poorly on them. So it’s important to be the whole person. And to be authentic in social media profiles, whether it’s  LinkedIn or Facebook or any other social media website but it’s also important that you are the same person on the job or in the interview so they can get a good idea on who you are. And you’re making a positive impression. You’re building a personal brand that employers will want to be part of their company.

Christina: Absolutely, is Facebook, and for that matter other social networking websites, important in the modern job search?

Tony:  I think so. Some comments are really good. I remember the one comment, it was an individual responding saying, “I locked down my privacy on my profile on Facebook so that only my friends can participate. Anyone who publicly looks for me will just see my profile picture and that’s it.” I think that’s great. Maintain your personal profile, but also keep a professional presence. Social networking websites is not just Facebook. It could be any other site which include the forums of which you blog or contribute comments. Where you interact with your peers in your profession. Or opinion leaders, or even hiring managers of some of the companies that interest you. These are all social networking websites where you are all interacting socially and you want to be able to present yourself in a positive manner. This is where you get a chance to really shine. And you get a chance to show people how you are going to behave in your profession, in your industry, so I do think it’s a very important part of the modern job search.

Christina: Great, how should a job seeker protect their privacy and still remain somewhat social in the job search?

Tony:  The best advice is to constantly check the privacy settings for your profiles. Look at yourself from a public perspective and make sure you are only displaying publicly what you want to display. Make sure you pay attention to what your friends are posting on your profile as well. It’s important to know what is available to those who are looking for you publicly. It’s important to know what changes are being made on the privacy policies. I’ll give you an example of a privacy policy that had been changed for LinkedIn and it takes about four or five steps to get into your edit profile settings and then change how third parties are able to view your personal information. For LinkedIn for instance, this was a very broad notification to users that privacy policy changes were being made, but they didn’t really describe specifically what those changes were. And so you might have over looked the fact that a third party, or LinkedIn would be able to use your profile information for advertising purposes. And so you had to go in and disable that check box that allowed that information to be used. In this day and age, we are available on our smartphones, we are available on various social networking platforms. And we freely accept the permissions to use our personal data. Something as simple as our location settings. Where we are when we check into a place using FourSquare or Places, or whatever tool we use to check in with our friends, we are letting people know where we are, who we are, what we are doing. And we are offering this information freely. In fact we sign contracts to the effect that this information can be used by the contract providers. And so when we are this free with that information, we have to take a step back sometimes and look at how that information might be used. Not everyone is going to use this information for good and we have to be aware of how this information may be used maliciously, against us and how to protect ourselves.

Christina: Thanks so much, Tony. That wraps up our episode for today. You’ve been listening to Talent Connection, a podcast about connecting job seekers and employers, produced by Cachinko. For details about the next episode, please visit blog.cachinko.com.

About Heather R. Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Cachinko. She is also the founder & president of Come Recommended, the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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