The blurry lines of social media mean the mask many people wear in business are slipping and I wonder whether this is a good thing for recruitment or not? I personally have always cited that I am the same person whether you meet me on a Saturday lunchtime or in a business meeting- bar I may be slightly more stressed on a Saturday playing my daughters’ social secretary and ferrying them around from horse riding to parties to playdates! Social media has obviously changed everyone’s lives now- I am not debating here whether that is a positive or negative observation- however, when I speak to anyone- prospective client or candidate; the first thing I do before speaking if it is a planned call, or straight after if it is a reactive call- is get straight on to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to follow them.
I do this, not for contrived reasons, but to genuinely allow myself to build a clear picture of who they are.
Ok, so it is also because I am nosey and want to see what they have had for lunch (Instagram), where they have been and who with (Facebook), what they are bothered about (Twitter) and what job they do (LinkedIn). But this means that there needs to be a consistency in that representation.
Do you maintain a professional image?
I met a chap last year who had been referred by another client– they had interviewed him and although were very impressed with him and his potential, mutually agreed that their environment just wasn’t best suited. I met this candidate and was also very impressed, so we agreed to work together exclusively to find him his recruitment role.
I was slower to get on Facebook than my client though (we had met at 10am and by 12pm this client had agreed to see him- I wasn’t even back from the venue I had met him in yet!) and they called me straight back and said, “omg, have you seen his cover pic on facebook?”. I replied “erm NO, not yet as I am still sat in the hotel where I met him….”. I quickly logged on to my facebook, found the candidate and saw (with part horror, part humour) that his cover pic featured him semi-naked in a pose with the words “F*CK YOU” ablaze across the top. Hmm. Not exactly the professional image he was hoping to portray.
Should we censor ourselves?
What is the moral of this? Should we each censor our facebook tags- ensuring there are no embarrassing pics of us on drunken nights out? Or should this culture we live in, which embraces freedom to be individual- anything goes these days?- encourage us all to behave with honesty in professional contexts too?
I have always been known for honesty and clearly advocate this approach to all professionals. But is there a fine line between the image we wish to portray to accelerate us in a business arena, to the person we really are?
Just be you:
Perhaps as I run my own business, my brand is me, I am my brand, I am approaching this from a different angle to someone who is employed and paid by a company who wish to be known for employing a certain type of person….. but is there any harm in just being YOU consistently and not trying to upsell, behave as a professional chameleon and just be as down to earth as you can be?
It hasn’t done me any harm. In fact, I am bold enough to say, by just simply being ME and not adopting any fake stance, portrayal or persona, it has actually become a reason why people do work with me?
What do you think? Do you wear a mask in work (not literally, I am not writing this about gimps!), or are you also a straight talking, open and honest recruiter, behaving with integrity and being true to yourself. As ever, I love knowing what you think. And my moral? Just be the best you that you can be.