In what seems like the dark ages of social media, circa 2008, when I was training recruiters and sourcers on how to not only find people but engage in social media, it seemed like the phrase I said most was something akin to “Everyone can see what you post, so think before you post.”
These days, that’s said by everyone. There are even PSAs encouraging people to take care as they post because even Grandma sees what you do.
All this seeing is accompanied by what I now refer to as “judgy eyes.” That is a tough thing to do as a human—and tougher for some humans than others.
As a recruiter, it’s even more important that you fight the judgy eyes—it all begins when you’re reviewing online profiles. At times, a simple name generation task can unleash a pandora’s box. It’s the conundrum of sourcing on Facebook. How far do you want to go? What do you really need to know? Does it matter what kind of profile pictures candidates have? Or videos on their Facebook timeline?
I have to fight the judgy eyes and keep it to just the facts. Profile pics? They don’t deter me, but I do have a moment of wondering on some. I force myself to roll back to that intake meeting… what are the skills the candidate needs? Well-written profiles really make our recruiting lives so much easier, especially when our first pass buzzwords are used. But many online profile builders, unless they’re a digital wunderkind, aren’t aware of how recruiters search for candidates and how reliant we are on standard keywords. It forces us to really look at the skills that are provided to us in what can often be skeletal information. As the recruiting landscape becomes increasingly competitive, reviewing and considering online profiles requires a bit of latitude. It’s important to adopt the mindset that online profile sourcing is a jumpstart on reaching out to candidates to get more detailed information.
Which brings the question: If it’s just the facts, can you determine soft skills or cultural fit from an online profile? Oooh… that’s really judgy. I don’t know that you can. I think that’s where the phone conversations and in-person interviews come much more into play. I’d much rather make a determination on a person’s ability to negotiate difficult personalities and situations via a conversation than just relying on an online profile. Has anyone ever detailed interactions with difficult bosses? Difficult customers? Projects that blew up and needed triage? And… in an online profile? No. We live our best lives online… annoyingly so. That level of detail is revealed in face-to-face interactions, and is so much better if it is.
And certainly, if there are things your judgy eyes are wondering about, like “How did you choose your profile photo?”—those questions can be conquered, too… and could be an excellent icebreaker for your next interview.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.