Whenever a position opens up at my company, I cringe a little. Job hunting is hard, but so is hiring a new employee. Resumes flood our office via fax, email, US mail, in person deliveries and any other method people can think of to get noticed. Usually about half of the applicants are totally unqualified, but it still takes time to weed them out.
It’s tempting to hire the first person who walks in the door and says they can do the job, but that’s a disservice to my company. About a year ago I stumbled on to a video blog by GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons talking about hiring the right employees. He’s right when he says that the wrong employee will cost you, and the right one requires patience and persistence. Not to mention, if I hire the wrong employee I’ll end up having to terminate them and do this hiring thing all over again. Then no one wins. I’ll embed the video at the end of the story, it’s great to get the business perspective on hiring, especially from someone with demonstrable success in his field.
So, where were we? The pile of resumes from qualified people. In a down economy there are a lot of people with a solid employment history, the right educational background and good references. What, then, makes a difference in who we call for an interview and who we remember? I head to the internet.
Your digital presence says a lot about who you are as a person and who you promise to be as an employee. A piece of paper can only say so much about you. Sure, a nice quality of stock, business-like font, lack of spelling errors and good use of grammar are all important . . . but a lot of candidates can do that. Specifically, I look at LinkedIn, Twitter and do some general searches.
Let’s Talk About LinkedIn
I want to see that you actively engage in your business sector and community. Do you share articles? Have you built a solid network? Has anyone endorsed or recommended you? Are you associated with anyone at my company?
Do people say that you’re simply good at your job or are you both a quality employee and enjoyable to work with? In an ideal world ever office would be staffed with qualified, efficient and enjoyable people who challenge each other to constantly evolve and improve.
Unless your twitter account is public and relates to business I will probably ignore it. Unless, of course, I discover that you’re a troll and every interaction you have online is decidedly negative. The last thing I want in my workplace is someone who reacts poorly to feedback and flies off the handle at the slightest provocation, often with irrational or poorly thought out responses.
I love finding someone who is connected to influencers in their area of expertise. Finding someone who helps others by sharing information and experience is great, too.
Other Online Tools
Something I’m seeing a lot of lately, and I really like, is About.me. An about.me page is like a table of contents for your professional online presence. Start with your name, a headline, a picture and a short biography. Link to pages like LinkedIn, Twitter, your blog (if you have one) and so on. It’s easy to set up and tells me a whole lot about who you are even before you walk in the door for an interview.
Use these tools and others to make me want to hire you, because I guarantee you, I want to hire someone and I’d like to do it soon. Below is the video I referenced earlier, it’s about eight minutes long and there are two GoDaddy girls, but look past that because it’s good information.