Friday, September 11, 2009

Perceptions Are Real to Those Who Hold Them

Our banjo playing Chief Creative Officer, Sue DiAmico, is, among other things, a multi-tasker extraordinaire, so I wasn't surprised when she found the time in her cyber travels to forward a piece that appeared on the eMarketer Digital Intelligence site. The article was entitled: Job Candidates Both Hurt and Helped by Social Networks. As the title implies, the information about you on the Net can be a two-edged sword.

As I continue to contemplate the electronic world in which we live and while I am fascinated with it all, at least when it comes to the "digital dirt" issues that face some of the Gen X and Y folks, I not only feel for them but actually feel lucky that I was born way too soon.

Indeed, once I had read the piece, I could not help but think of the fact that if some of the stuff that I did when I was in college (or high school for that matter) ever made it to the Net, and I was a hiring manager and saw it or read about it, I wouldn't have made a phone call to me, much less hired me.

No matter where you are philosophically, when it comes to the debate over the separation of business lives vs. personal lives, if you are looking to make a change on the business side and whereas you might put points on the board for freedom of expression when the cover of an album on your Facebook page is a picture of you and your buddies standing by someone's VW that you just put on their porch last Halloween, points, not paychecks will be about all you'll get.

I don't know how many clich├ęs there are or ways to say "You only get one chance to make a first impression," and for sure there has been plenty written on the subject (e.g. when I goggled "digital dirt" I got 3,600,000 hits); and yet even in this super competitive market I can't get over how we still see way too many people head out into the market before they are really ready to make sure that the impression they are going to leave be it verbal, print or electronic is at the quality level that they not only would want for themselves but which others would expect.

I am not talking about the crazy stuff that most of us did. If it's out there, it's out there, and while there are still plenty of folks who are at senior executive levels today who have been eliminated by recruiters due to stuff the recruiter has found online, for the most part at senior levels it isn't the skinny dip photos that gets your resume shredded. It is much more likely to be sloppy spelling, poor follow-up, poor communication skills, poor grammar, or maybe a resume that looks like it is a "before" sample.

With the pressures facing organizations these days, they don't have and won't take the time to get a second impression, so taking the time to make sure that "the product" is ready for prime time is not only time well spent, it is absolutely essential.

1 comment:

Kris Plantrich, CCMC, CPRW, CEIP said...

Hi Dave - I have thought the same thing as I see my own kids (3 teens) and their abilities to manipulate the internet. I have seen the "digital dirt" they've found just playing around.

I can only imagine how easy it would be for employment searches to dig up unwanted dirt. It is something I mention with most of my clients and all of the ones younger than me.

Kris Plantrich