Stephanie A. Lloyd

Don’t forget to use protection.

Recently a blog post on tlnt.com by the fabulous Laurie Ruettimann caught my attention, “Don’t Facebook Me: Why You Shouldn’t Google During the Recruiting Process.

Laurie writes, “I don’t believe it is appropriate for Human Resources professionals to hop on Google, root around the Internet, and look for incriminating pictures and create reasons not to hire qualified people during America’s worst recession in decades.

Cartoon by Hugh MacLeodGoogling is a sloppy, lazy, and unseemly method to verify a candidate’s character. And who the heck is HR to put itself out there as a judge of character? I told the audience, “Some of us in the room are human and screw up on a daily basis. If you can’t use Facebook to post pictures, where is the joy in life?”

My first thought was, “But I am not looking for information to rule candidates out. I am looking for information to rule them in.”

When I am using Google or any other search tool as a part of my sourcing and recruiting efforts, I am seeking information about individuals’ professional experience and expertise. When working on a search, the goal is to find the most qualified candidate. Most of the searches that I work on are highly-specialized; clients hire me to find qualified individuals at a certain level within a small, very specific niche.

There is typically an extremely limited pool of these people that I am looking for. So, when I start researching someone’s professional background, I am hoping to find information telling me they are the right candidate for the job.

I WANT this person to be the right person for the job – so I can fill it and move on to the next one!

The problem arises when things pop up during this research that provide some doubt as to whether the individual may be the right fit for a client. The reason I am always writing on my blog about how it’s not a good idea to have drunken, naked, or otherwise unprofessional photos that are available to the general public is that we recruiters don’t want to find that stuff when we are doing our research! If we do, it might give us pause: ”Well, now, what if my client researches them and finds this and I didn’t tell them about it?”

Let me give you an example.

During a search I was working on several years ago I came across a potential candidate’s resume. He was a consultant for a Big 4 professional services firm, and his education and work experience were impressive.

The problem?

His resume was outlined on his MySpace page…right next to pictures of him, um, hugging the Porcelein God if you know what I mean.  

There was also a lot of commentary about how he likes to drink and get drunk and there were pictures of naked woman all over his page.

My first thought was that if the partners of his firm saw this they would be mortified. And what if a client or potential client of theirs found it??

And then I thought the same thing about if the partners of the firm I was representing at the time saw that. They would be equally mortified. To have the name of the firm right there next to all of that…I still shudder at the thought.

Fortunately for me, it turned out his experience was not a direct match for what I was looking for so even if I had not seen all of that he would not have been a fit for that particular role. However, I just kept thinking…what if he had been? Then what am I supposed to do with that information once I have it?

Part of being a good fit for certain MOST roles is demonstration of good judgment. That, was not.

I think it’s perfectly fine to post your pictures on MySpace or Facebook or wherever. Naked or drunk or otherwise.

I think it’s also a really, really good idea to think long and hard about whom you want to see that stuff and whom you do not…and to USE PROTECTION THOSE PRIVACY CONTROLS THEY GIVE YOU.

About the Author: 

Stephanie A. Lloyd is Strategist-in-Chief, Calibre Search Group, located in Atlanta, Georgia at the intersection of Talent Strategies + Social Media. With more than 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and executive search, Stephanie works with hiring managers, HR executives, business owners, and recruiting firms on recruitment and retention strategy including how to better utilize social media for talent acquisition and employee communication. Stephanie is a regular contributor to Talent Net Live and The Matrix Wall, and she partners with Todd Schnick to produce the video blogging series He Said, She Said.

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Is it easy for recruiters to find you?

Thanks to Mike VanDerVort I recently found this fantastic article this morning in AdAge talentworks, "How to Google-Rank Your Way to a Recruiter's Heart."

I'm always telling job seekers that your goal is to be found, and this article clearly defines why as well as some excellent advice on just how you can set yourself up for success.

During an average week, a recruiter reviews countless resumes, responds to hundreds of e-mails, conducts phone screens, video interviews and in-person interviews -- all to find one perfect candidate match. The sheer volume of work has been exacerbated by high unemployment and a down economy. As a result, many recruiters are casting a smaller net, relying on sources like social media, employee referrals and Boolean search to attract a smaller, more qualified set of candidates.

For job seekers, this means a change in job-search approach. Rather than the "find a job" mentality, job seekers must focus on being found. Recruiters are holding the proverbial glass slipper -- looking for the perfect match to open positions. Are social media and web tools the digital fairy godmother that introduces you?

Here are ways to make it easier for a recruiter to discover you:

1. Expand your glass slipper's footprint.

Posting your resume on mega-job boards and searching for open positions on these boards is only a point of entry for job searches today. It's a foundation -- but it isn't a very strategic or holistic approach. To broaden your digital footprint, start with this checklist: Do you appear on LinkedIn? Twitter? Facebook? Delicious? YouTube or Vimeo? Flickr? Do you have a blog, using sites such as TypePad, WordPress, Blogger?

For an even wider presence, create your own website and register a personal URL for yourself; sites such as GoDaddy.com make it very easy and inexpensive to do. There are also services that offer HTML resume solutions like ResumeBuilder.com and VisualCV. By posting your resume as its own web page, recruiters have a better chance of finding it through a Boolean search.

Once your digital footprint is established, include your information on your e-mail signature to increase connections with those in your network. Cross-post your digital-footprint links on multiple sites. Is your Twitter feed posted on your LinkedIn profile? Is your LinkedIn profile posted on your blog? And so on. Most people still have personal preferences of the social media site they visit the most. The wider your reach, the more likely it is that the right people will find you.

2. Define your magic keywords.

A recruiter isn't going to find you by your name. They search based on skills, experience, your work history. Take the time to think it through: If someone conducts a search on Google, Bing or a social-media site to find you, what keywords will they use? Which key descriptors specify your unique skills and where you're located?

Start out with 10 words. Include items such as your title, region, area of expertise and your industry. Once you define these words, make sure they appear on all of your digital profiles. Conduct your own keyword audit to check the reach of your digital footprint. Do all of these words appear in the profiles that describe you to a potential employer? If so, that will make it easier to find you.

3. Customize your handle.

If your name is common, think about how you might make it more unique. Can you include your middle initial? Maybe initial your first name or perhaps use your full middle name? If you've taken on a married name, does it make sense to use your maiden name as well -- and hyphenate? As an example, if we search for "Traci Armstrong," we find 9,740 results on Google. But, at the risk of snickers, if we initial the first name and use her married last name "T. Ann Cakebread," the results are far more selective: four!

Be cautious, however, on what name you create for yourself: Don't choose something that makes it difficult for people to identify you. And, whatever identity you choose, be consistent so you appear the same everywhere you post.

Another great tool at your disposal is the vanity URL. Many sites offer this feature; both Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to customize your profile in this way, adding your name to your link. You can claim yours on Facebook or, on LinkedIn, click edit on the Public Profile featured in your profile settings. There is an option at the top of this page that allows you to edit your URL.

Job seekers should also take advantage of signing up for a free Google Profile. This allows you better control of how people see you when you appear in Google -- and increases the likelihood you will appear if someone searches you by name by expanding your footprint in yet another direction.

To read the rest of the article click here.

About the Author: 

Stephanie A. Lloyd is Strategist-in-Chief, Calibre Search Group, located in Atlanta, Georgia at the intersection of Talent Strategies + Social Media. With more than 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and executive search, Stephanie works with hiring managers, HR executives, business owners, and recruiting firms on recruitment and retention strategy including how to better utilize social media for talent acquisition and employee communication. Stephanie is a regular contributor to Talent Net Live and The Matrix Wall, and she partners with Todd Schnick to produce the video blogging series He Said, She Said.

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Can denim have a place in your professional wardrobe?

I was so happy to stumble upon this article in the Wall Street Journal, “The Relentless Rise of Power Jeans"

I love, love, love to wear jeans, and for nine or ten months out of the year I wear them pretty much every day.

Jeans at the office?While I know that some people are going to might disagree with me on this, I believe that jeans can have a place in the workplace and other professional environments, and that they don’t have to compromise your image. In fact, worn well, I think they can enhance your image and allow you to make a statement.

I always wear dark jeans because they are dressier and I think they just look nicer, and for networking and other professional situations that don’t require a suit or even dress, skirt, or pants, I like to pair them with a dressy top and heels, or maybe a sweater, suede jacket, and a pair of boots in the wintertime. I like boot cut and trouser cut jeans that allow for a heel and still have a nice leg that’s not too tight or casual looking.

“Power jeans are increasingly common in high-ranking business and political circles. Indeed, jeans are now a legitimate part of the global power-dress lexicon, worn to influential confabs where the wearers want to signal they’re serious—but not fussy—and innovative.

The look started with the young but has crossed into gray-haired circles. In preparation for a meeting with the U.S. president of Swiss watchmaker IWC, Larry Seiden, a 56-year-old fine-watch collector from San Jose, Calif., bought a pair of black Agave jeans from a high-end boutique. “They tailored them for me and I have to tell you, I really love them,” he says. “Now I’m thinking of getting another pair in blue denim.”

The author goes on to talk about where jeans can have a place, and where they may not be so appropriate.

“Jeans are recruiting new fans among even dressy executives…chosen well, jeans can suggest the wearer is confident and modern. Traditionally cut blue jeans carry a whiff of the laborer about them, so denim on a leader suggests a willingness to roll up the sleeves and dig in. There’s also something of the rebel in a pair of jeans. In the boardroom, that can read as creative.

But jeans must be carefully paired with a pressed shirt and good shoes to be elevated to business class. And some industries haven’t (yet) become open to denim as power wear. Banks and accounting-firm boardrooms, for instance, remain decidedly woolen. New York-based career adviser Jonscott Turco says jeans are generally a “no-brainer” in the media, manufacturing and creative industries, but not in financial services and law firms.

Power jeans may best be left to the executives in mixed-rank groups. Being a junior person wearing jeans in a room full of pinstripes could spell “youthful blunder.” Perhaps the best rule is that of the high-priced boutique: If you have to ask, you can’t afford to wear them.”

The WSJ article provides some excellent tips on how to get jeans right in the workplace:

“…getting power jeans right involves lots of no’s. No distressed jeans at work. No metal studs. No acid washes. No lavish embroidery. No boot cut. No skinny. No pedal pushers, shorts or cutoffs. No baggy high-rise. No super-low-rise. No holes. And no fussy ironing.”

If you want to wear jeans, I think you can in certain situations. Just like with anything you’re going to wear in a professional environment, be sure that they fit well and are flattering – and not tight! Have them tailored if you need to.

Your professional wardrobe always requires thought, care, and investment.

Denim is no exception!

About the Author: 

Stephanie A. Lloyd is Strategist-in-Chief, Calibre Search Group, located in Atlanta, Georgia at the intersection of Talent Strategies + Social Media. With more than 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and executive search, Stephanie works with hiring managers, HR executives, business owners, and recruiting firms on recruitment and retention strategy including how to better utilize social media for talent acquisition and employee communication. Stephanie is a regular contributor to Talent Net Live and The Matrix Wall, and she partners with Todd Schnick to produce the video blogging series He Said, She Said.

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Blogging as a part of your job search requires discipline!

Each morning I wake up to a fresh new blog post from Chris Brogan.

You want to talk about discipline? Chris has discipline.

If you have a blog or have ever had a blog you probably know how difficult it is to find the time – let alone the ideas – to write a new blog post every single day.

A friend of mine said something to me recently that really made me think about discipline and how I need to have more of it, so Chris’s blog post, Discipline and the Blogger’s Opportunity, couldn’t have arrived at a better time for me.

Chris writes about the fact that every blog post is an opportunity. “Every time you post, you build an opportunity. It might be for making business. It might be for sharing thought leadership. It might be the chance to build some new relationships. Mechanically, it might just be another attempt to gain better organic ranking from Google. But each post is an opportunity.”

He goes on to provide several important points to consider before writing a blog post:

Show up – First, just be there. By writing a blog post on a regular schedule, your audience knows to expect you. They come to accept the flow of your efforts. Farmers have this relationship with their systems. It shows stewardship.

Deliver value – Bring your best game as often as possible. We all have “barely functional” days, but more often than not, if we’re earning people’s respect, our efforts must be something of value to our reader. Writing about ourselves doesn’t cut it.

Improve – Your great post from a week ago doesn’t give you a hall pass. Learn from those posts that don’t hit. Experiment. Read other great writers in your vertical and outside of it. Deconstruct what they’re doing and try to improve your game.

Clarify your desire – If you’re seeking a specific result from a post, guide your audience to that result. If you’re seeking sales, make the call to action obvious. If you’re looking for comments, invite a dialogue at the end of your post. It’s yours to win.

Do your part – Blogging isn’t all about your blog. Have you commented lately on others’ blogs? Are you sharing using the various social sharing tools? Be a good neighbor and help other bloggers by sharing, commenting, and adding value to the ecosystem.

As I read these points I couldn’t help but think that they can be applied to many areas of our lives…not just blogging.

Go back and read those points again, and this time think about them outside of the context of blogging. Think about them in terms of your job search.

Isn’t it interesting that the things that make us successful at doing one thing can make us successful in so many ways?

About the Author: 

Stephanie A. Lloyd is Strategist-in-Chief, Calibre Search Group, located in Atlanta, Georgia at the intersection of Talent Strategies + Social Media. With more than 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and executive search, Stephanie works with hiring managers, HR executives, business owners, and recruiting firms on recruitment and retention strategy including how to better utilize social media for talent acquisition and employee communication. Stephanie is a regular contributor to Talent Net Live and The Matrix Wall, and she partners with Todd Schnick to produce the video blogging series He Said, She Said.

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We don’t care about your hobbies.

April Dowling, author of PseudoHR, recently wrote Ten resume tips for the non-HR job seeker and she shares some excellent advice. She says, “Resumes are a way to get your foot in the door; here are a few tips to help ensure the rest of you gets through the door.”

I really like several of the tips April shares in her blog post:

Resume TipsSpell check – It’s included in every word processor, use it, please.

Italics – Italics are for names, movies, books etc; not for your job title or entire resume.

Hobbies – We don’t care, keep it job related. [A note from the management: we really don't care and not only that we think you don't have good judgement because you just told us the names and ages of all of your children and your cat. I'm sure they are all lovely but they belong on Facebook not on your resume.]

Past work history – Rule of thumb is ten years but if you don’t have that much history list the information that pertains to the job posting.  If it’s a management position and you have management experience at McDonalds include it but if were just a burger flipper don’t include it.

Objectives – My personal preference on resumes, don’t include an objective.  Your objective is to get a job, same as everyone else.  Use that space to add information about your job experience.

About the Author: 

Stephanie A. Lloyd is Strategist-in-Chief, Calibre Search Group, located in Atlanta, Georgia at the intersection of Talent Strategies + Social Media. With more than 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and executive search, Stephanie works with hiring managers, HR executives, business owners, and recruiting firms on recruitment and retention strategy including how to better utilize social media for talent acquisition and employee communication. Stephanie is a regular contributor to Talent Net Live and The Matrix Wall, and she partners with Todd Schnick to produce the video blogging series He Said, She Said.

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