A few years ago, I started noticing a trend in my recruiting searches. If a candidate’s online profile did not match the details outlined in their resume, they were less likely to be viewed as a top contender. Gone are the days when professionals could choose whether to participate on social media platforms or put up one-and-done social media profiles. A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder found that 57% of companies are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online. More than 70% use social media to screen candidates.
The successful candidate will be the professional who implements the following best practices for digital branding.
1. Be immediately available.
More than 60% of people expect brands to “provide consumers with information they need when they need it,” according to Google. Hiring managers are no different. As the candidate, you are the brand. Failing to establish a presence on social media leaves the impression that you have “something to hide” or “nothing to show.” Optimizing your online profile is all about differentiating yourself and increasing your credibility. Without the right digital identity, it’s tough to establish trust with a future employer.
Recruiters and hiring managers use social networking platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to select candidates every day. Create a profile that’s open to the public and searchable, and include a professional picture. Companies hire people, not avatars. Also, candidates who include several methods of contact are more likely to find themselves contacted by future employers.
2. Be immediately relevant.
Anticipate the type of help a future employer will need, and make yourself the solution. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2018 Report estimatesthat by 2022, everyone will need an extra 101 days of learning, and two-thirds of employers expect workers to take on the responsibility of reskilling now. Relevancy depends on acquiring “Industry 4.0” skills around new technologies. Industry 4.0 combines automation and digitalization with human creativity and innovation to increase production. For example, according to Upwork, the first quarter of 2018 saw an explosion in jobs connected to blockchain, with 6,000% growth in the sector.
Hiring managers and recruiters are looking for candidates who take the initiative to upskill and reskill. They want to see who has taken open online courses or corporate courses related to Industry 4.0 technology implementation or transformation strategy. The top candidates have badges and certifications that validate and make it easy to understand the level of their newly acquired skills. Education is no longer a one-time, check-the-box item. Your relevancy depends on a social media profile that showcases a perpetual learner.
3. Be immediately transparent.
The World Economic Forum report shared that several soft skills will be in high demand by 2022. Companies will be looking to hire employees who will ideate, create and innovate.
Soft skills wrapped around a digital world are the new must-have qualifications for employability. A candidate’s digital branding gives a future employee a way to evaluate emotional quotient (EQ) and digital quotient (DQ). Employers are looking for leaders and team members who understand that EQ and social influence are important in a competitive skills market where 20% to 50% of workers are exhibiting some sort of ghosting behavior toward employers. Ghosting behaviors include not showing up for a scheduled interview, not showing up after saying yes to a new job and not showing up to work without resigning.
Hiring managers and recruiters are looking for candidates who use social media not just to sell themselves, but to show they have something to offer to future employers and others in their industry. Some of the questions they’ll be asking as they evaluate your profile include:
• Is the candidate connected to or following people in their industry?
• Is the candidate involved in social media affinity pages or groups?
• Is the candidate only connected to people at their level or higher (i.e., only people who can help their career)?
• Is the candidate connected with a diverse range of people — young and old, male and female?
• Are those connections across disciplines and functions?
• How does the candidate interact on the platform? Do they offer relevant insights and solutions, or simply spam others’ feeds with articles best left in the corporate PR dustbin?
• Most importantly, has the candidate given positive feedback and recommendations to past and current team members at all levels?
Act now. Start establishing and creating trust through your online brand right away. Future employers are already looking and judging!