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Admit It: We All Creep on Social Media

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It's Tuesday morning. You grab your morning coffee, get into your car and make the drive to your office. If you work from home, you roll out of bed, grab your slippers and coffee and sit down at your desk. In both cases you fire up your computer to check your email, maybe your instant messaging app, open your browser and select your favorite sites, and of course your LinkedIn page.

You review any new messages from candidates. Then you check to see if any new profiles were flagged due to your saved search criteria. You take a look at the first profile and see a lack of overall experience. Move on. You review the second profile. No degree, which is a requirement.

Okay, so the third profile looks interesting. You spend a little more time on it. You check out any connections in common, where they've worked, what they've done, and eventually you look at the groups. In a separate tab or another monitor, you Google the prospect. You read any tweets, posts, articles, and maybe even creep a bit on the candidate's Facebook to get a sense of who the person is.

What's the goal here? In the end, you look for ways to determine the credibility (or lack thereof) of the third profile. What we often forget is that the potential candidate is doing the exact same thing before he responds.

Creeping is mutual

Last week I was referred to a possible recruiting candidate for one of my organizations. On that day I poured my second cup of coffee, opened LinkedIn, and proceeded to check out his profile. I reviewed his experience, education, endorsements, then took it one step further. Since this recruiter claimed to be a technology guru (the words of the referer), I looked at his connections. The goal wasn't to see if we had any mutual connections; it was to see how many technology professionals he was connected with.

Unfortunately, my creeping resulted in disappointment. This candidate was connected to more recruiters than tech professionals. This conclusion was just part of the process, though. I jumped over to Twitter and 99% of his tweets were focused on recruiting and HR--barely any sign of technology. In balance, there would be nothing wrong with his communication to and with recruiters and HR. However, in this case, he was spending almost all of his time with other recruiters and little time building credibility with his target audience.

Candidates do the same thing! As a result of the last economic collapse, we live in a Post-Trust Era where candidates are cynical of recruiters. Most professionals indicate that the first thing they do when a recruiter reaches out is creep social media profiles. What are they looking for? Experience and connections in their industry, active and relevant posts and articles related to them. You get the drift.

Pre-Framing

In the sales and marketing world, pre-framing is how we create credibility for ourselves before we reach out to prospective candidates. These days, this is mainly accomplished through our social media profiles, tweets, posts, articles, connections, etc.

Be honest with yourself. What do your profiles and digital footprints say about you? Are you spending more time tweeting about ATS software or are you sharing the latest trends in technology development, GAAP accounting rules, or other relevant topics for your audience? Are you using tools like LinkedIn as a glorified database, or are you contributing to the community of your target audience?

There are many, many recruiters out there reaching out to the same candidates you are. What sets you apart? What would compel a candidate to return your call or respond to someone else before you? Yeah, you might be doing just fine in the response department, but are you getting the best or are you settling? It's your choice.

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