Monday, August 13, 2012

Sick of social media? Think twice before you go offline.

Our blog has moved. You will find this blog post and fresh content on our new Talascend IT blog.

Can going offline make you look suspicious to employers?
In the past, we've talked about the separation of professional and personal lives; putting different faces out front when it comes to social media. We've also discussed old school and new school views on social media for business.  A recent article looks at the other side of the equation.

Forbes' Kashmir Hill brings a new twist to the world of social media. She argues that lack of a Facebook presence can make you look suspicious; in life, at work and to perspective employers.

She discusses recent media stories that suggest a minuscule online persona may be a trait mass murderers share and might be a reason for suspicion. She then tells us why the lack of a Facebook page might make you want to think twice about becoming someone's lover. She also brought up a point that immediately came to my mind as I started reading: What does it mean to employers when someone is not using social media?

I feel especially compelled to expand on this subject as electronic communication has become such a large part of how the resourcing industry does business today. Much of what used to be handled by snail mail, hard copy files, and faxes has now become as immediate and timely as social media itself. Reaching out to candidates found on LinkedIn and other social media can be done in seconds instead of days.  

As careful as you need to be now that your online persona is examined and scrutinized in many professional situations, you need to be just as careful to have something out there about yourself. Given that social media has become so popular, the lack a presence not only makes you potentially invisible to employers, but you could lose out on a position because of being so far out of the norm.

I am not suggesting that removing yourself from social media is wrong but, like it or not and despite the potential discrimination and privacy issues, it has become an important tool for many employers during the hiring process.

For example, let's take a look at LinkedIn. Simply having an account doesn't make you visible. The number of connections and the groups of which you are a member can impact your visibility to potential employers and likelihood of being considered for a position.  If you are a salesperson or recruiter who has 50 connections and isn't active in any groups, at a minimum it tells a potential  employer that you aren’t keeping up with the times and new tools of the trade, and at worst, you may be really bad at making connections.

These days it's more important than ever not only to be careful WHAT you put online, but to make sure that you do, in fact, put SOMETHING online. To take it a step further; it's not enough to simply have a presence, but to keep your presence active and updated.