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Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm Back and I've Brought a New Article!

Well, the two people who actually follow my blog are really ticked that I haven't been keeping up with it, so...I'm back...not exactly from outerspace, but close. It was a wild summer here at The Force, but with the onset of Fall, I'm ready to get back to the business of blogging.

With that in mind, I want to share an article that is particularly relevant given the 2009 IT Salary Guide meetings that are occupying the bulk of my time this quarter. In case you haven't received one yet, the industry trend that we focused on in this year's guide is the role that social networks, ala LinkedIn and FaceBook, are playing in our recruiting efforts.

In addition to using these tools for more effectively recruiting that 'holy grail' of candidates -- the passive candidate (you know, the ones who are already gainfully employed and doing a great job), we are also educating all of our candidates on the role that the internet plays in managing one's professional image. Many candidates, and even some of my clients, would do well to remember that the line between 'business' and 'personal' is extremely blurry in the today's MySpace age.

All in all, I thought that the article to follow is an excellent read, particularly if you're planning to interview any time soon. Long story short: In hiring, if you can Google it, it's fair game.

One in five employers research job applicants on the Web
Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:04PM EDT

As the social-networking scene continues to explode, the who, what, where, and when of what you post on your profile becomes even more critical. Case in point: A new study reveals that one in five hiring managers utilize the Web and social networks to screen new potential applicants.
The study, reported by Reuters, found that out of 3,169 hiring managers, 22 percent of them (about 698 managers) used social networking sites to find out information regarding potential candidates. This is up from 11 percent, or 349 managers, since 2006.

Even though 22 percent may not seem like a huge number now, one can only expect that number to continue to rise. The study revealed that 9 percent surveyed were currently not using social networking sites for screening purposes but plan to in the future.
Here's the kicker: About one third of the applicants screened online were dropped from contention after inappropriate content was found on their profile. Yikes.

So, who should be wary of these statistics? Those that are currently undergoing the transition from school to professional career. Social networking in college is a completely different animal than in the professional world. Pictures posted of last week's mixer are totally commonplace if not universally accepted in college. However, the second that these two worlds collide, what you and, more importantly, your friends say about you becomes a liability in the workplace.
I'll be completely honest—I have actually been doing a little housecleaning on my Internet profiles. Are you applying for a new job? Make sure you follow these tips:

First, privacy settings are your friend. Sites like Facebook and MySpace have tools to ensure that only you and your friends can view those scandalous pictures you took at your best friend's New Year's Eve party. Blogs are also a huge potential risk (there are cited instances of people getting fired from blogging), so make sure you set up privacy settings to keep tabs of who is exactly reading what you're writing.

Second, use search engines to keep tabs of what is posted online about you. You can start by using major search engines, such as Yahoo! and Google, or you can give, a "people search engine," a try. What you see in these search engine results will most likely be the same thing that your future hiring manager will be seeing.

Third, don't "friend" anyone unless you're absolutely confident that it won't have any negative repercussions (even then, it can be a risk). I generally try to keep my personal and professional social networks completely separated (Facebook and LinkedIn), but it can be very difficult.
Fourth, keep tabs of what people are posting about you. Facebook's photo tagging system can be particularly dangerous, as it can label you in the image and link them directly to your profile. I know it can be difficult to manage, but this is particularly important.