Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Job Interviews In The Age Of Social Media, When You Tweet About The Bachelor And Swear On Your Blog

I was selected to participate in something called "Present The Best You" Online contest, hosted by Monster.com about job interviewing. (Scroll down to win stuff.)


Yes. "Present The Best You." FROM A WOMAN WITH A BLOG ENTRY CALLED "MASHED POTATO BOOBS." I give Monster a whole lot of credit.


But hey: if you want to find me on BeKnown, a new Facebook app that lets you professionally connect with others on FB, just click here! BECAUSE YOU TOTALLY DO.
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Now, yes. Mashed potato incidents aside, I AM gainfully employed and have actually held very real, very professional jobs.

And also I did write a post once a job interview I went on, several years ago, where I casually and obviously without forethought mentioned that I had a blog which was kind of a disaster almost.

You can read the whole post here but the point was, well. I was an idiot. I had no business bringing up my personal blog during a professional interview because I did NOT want the interviewer (a VP no less) to read my blog because of all the writing about bruises and dates and plus swear words. And back then, waaaaaaay in the blog dark ages of 2005, I was blogging anonymously, so it's not like Googling my name would have landed the VP on a post where, say, I have brilliantly sketched myself drinking directly from a red wine bottle. 

But you know? Times have changed. We're not blogging anonymously and many of us aren't Facebooking or Tweeting or checking-in anonymously, either. Now every job interview begins with a thorough Googling and perusal of your social media life.

And you know that. And maybe (hopefully) if you're in the land of job-seeking, you have thought about your online reputation. You know what happens when you Google yourself, you know what images appear on Flickr, you know you haven't hidden all your FB albums. Which is great. Frankly, I'm not here to tell you otherwise. As someone who shares pretty much everything with the online world, I'm not about to tell you that you need to password-protect your life in order to be hired. But guess what I do have?

Three tips on how to approach interviewing when so much of your life is online and findable (from one social media junkie to another):

1. "Be Prepared" takes on new meaning. Research them, of course. But research you, too.
With so many fun tools at our fingertips, being prepared for your interview doesn't just mean looking at the hiring company's website. It means finding what others are saying about the company. It means looking up who's currently working at the company AND who used to work there. I also always go searching for information about the people who will be meeting with me -- it's not always fair when they have your resume and you don't have theirs, so BeKnown and LinkedIn can really help even the playing field.

Ah, but it's also a smart idea to take a deep breath and Google yourself. Maybe you've done it a million times already, but do it again. What story are you telling? If there's anything you stumble upon that you'd be embarrassed for an employer to see, take it down. If it's in the public domain, it's perfectly acceptable for an interviewer to bring up.


2. Don't Be Yourself. Be Better. 
As I well know (OMG HOW WELL I KNOW), we are all flawed. We all spill and trip and bruise and say embarrassing things. We all have unkempt days (WEEKS) and untidy lives, inside and out. Maybe your social media outlets do nothing but illustrate this. Hi.

But your potential employer's primary objective is NOT to know what "the real you at home" is like. Your potential employer needs to know what you at your best is. What is your professional you? What are you capable of doing every day in your best version of you? What will you show clients and coworkers? What are you like when you're "on"?

Your interview is your one opportunity to supplement the online version of yourself with your other dazzling assets. Dress up. Speak well. Shine your shiniest self. And whatever you do, don't let the informality of social media lead you to believe that you are friends with your interviewer; just because she left a comment on your blog post or is now following you on Twitter doesn't mean you're now BFFs.


3. Practice, Practice, Practice.
Um, so, it's established that you're online a lot. Your interviewer knows it, you know it. By virtue of you reading this post, I know it. That means that every conceivable tool for "acing" the interview is at your disposal -- assuming you're a good fit for the job you're seeking. Your interviewer shouldn't be able to ask a single question that catches you off-guard. Nope. Not one. So tell me, do you know where you'll be in five years? Do you know your greatest weaknesses? Do you know how to not only answer questions, but give examples and quantifications with your answers? Do you know why manhole covers are round?
Here's a fantastic list of questions you should arm yourself with answers to before heading into any interview, including (my favorite): Who do you follow on Twitter, and why?


Thank you so much to Monster.com for this opportunity, and specifically to BeKnown, a fantastic new Facebook app that "allows you to set up a professional profile directly on Facebook...separate from your personal Facebook page." Handy, no? I mean, networking right on Facebook makes a lot of sense. Keeping your photo albums separate does, too. :)

Click here to get the Facebook app.
Click here to download the iPhone app.

Oh, hey. Monster.com furnished me with a makeup kit and business card holder for participating in this contest and you can win a kit and holder, too! Please leave a comment (ideally you will also join BeKnown) and you're as good as entered! Contest ends January 9 (EOD) so GET GOING!


About BeKnown:
Monster.com recently launched BeKnown, a professional networking app for Facebook. BeKnown allows you to set up a professional profile directly on Facebook that is completely separate from your personal Facebook page. One of the apps newest features, College Pages, even provides a way for alumni to network professionally on Facebook and view job postings from their fellow graduates!

With BeKnown College Pages:
  • Any jobs posted by alumni on BeKnown are added to the College/University profile page and Alumni with job opportunities can post jobs to students and recent alums for free
  • Students can follow their school and build relationships/connections with alumni working at top companies & discover alumni  jobs

In addition to College Pages, BeKnown also lets you conduct a job search of Monster's database of jobs without ever leaving BeKnown or Facebook. By tapping into the networks of their Facebook friends, young professionals can easily connect, send messages, and see who among their existing contacts is connected to a company or job opportunity they are interested in.

“As soon-to-be college graduates start to think about their entry into the workforce, their first step should be building out their professional networks using the invaluable connections they have right in front of them,” said Tom Chevalier, Global Product Manager for Monster Worldwide. “Alumni networks are a key source for career opportunities for college graduates, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to connect and engage right from BeKnown.”

37 comments:

  1. Just signed up through Facebook. Thanks for sharing K!

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  2. Words to live by Kristy! Loooove the "Don't Be Yourself. Be Better." tip. They can see some/enough of the real you on social media. The polished you can be quite powerful in comparison and make you "mighty" real. (cue Sylvester)

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  3. Could totally use the card holder. And let us face it...the makeup kit as well.

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  4. I'm on BeKnown! I could certainly use a makeup kit. :)

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  5. Your blog is very informative "i like it " job interviews.Salarydom empowers job seekers and employees with salary information for jobs at a particular company.

    Thanks for sharing a good info .

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  6. So what will they read into "I don't use Twitter"??

    I probably shouldn't tell them the real reasons:

    1. I already spend far too much time with the electronic distractions of modern life, so there just aren't enough hours in the day for me to jump on the Twitter train, too.

    2a. My cellphone is almost un-twitterable, it's so rustic.

    2b. And I'm too cheap to put money into a smarter phone and the data plan to support it. (Well, if "I'm the only breadwinner in my family and we're already living paycheck-to-paycheck, so we're making do with what we have" counts as "too cheap", that is.)

    Thanks for the good interview tips, chica. And for the chance to win the goodies.

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  7. Definitely great advice Kristy! Thanks for sharing the link to BeKnown too, can't wait to start using it.

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  8. I'm Signing up today.Thanks Kristi!

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  9. You can use different social media tools to seek out knowledge/content, aggregate it so that you can store it/find it later in an organised fashion, reflect on this knowledge.



    social media sales MA

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  10. Signing up now.
    And makeup? What's makeup? ;)

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  11. Kristy! Can I say this in a loving way? I absolutely adore your blog. I think you're amusing and sweet and clever with a charming element of the ridiculous. And I know that your life has changed a lot and all, but I'm still really disappointed that your first post in a month was a sponsored one.

    Please come back.

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  12. Thanks, you guys.

    And Maggie (can I call you that?), I totally hear you! I agreed to do this back in -- wait for it -- NOVEMBER. I thought I'd have PLENTY of other posts done between then and now and that this would be just a little icing on the return of the blog.

    So yeah. That didn't happen. But I agreed to do this post and had to honor the commitment.

    The upside is, I did manage to post something. And forced myself to carve out time to do so. Which means I know I can do it again. :)

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  13. Great advice! Going to check out BeKnown right now!

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  14. I was also curious about the "I'm not on twitter" thing. Does that put people in a certain "not one of us" group? Cuz I have the fancy phone...but use it to (gasp) call people, and skype, and text...and possibly facebook but I don't like the tiny buttons and am always "liking" things by accident...

    And yes, please do come back soon :).

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  15. Signing up! Did someone say app? And makeup?

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  16. I'll be job interviewing (again, ugh!) this spring, and you've given me a few things to think about as I start. Thanks!

    And also, makeup? Yay!

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  17. Love this, Kristy! And now I am totally curious about mashed potato boobs...

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  18. Long-time reader/lurker here. Interesting post!

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  19. It seems like with so much emphasis on teaching our kids about their online reputations that it's easy to forget about our own! Thanks so much for this very important reminder! Going to Google myself now because it's been awhile and will definitely remember to be better than my best! Thanks again!

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  20. I am very serious about managing social media outlets and visibility. My FB feed is personal and only people that I am comfortable seeing my personal information and activity from work get to see it. I've also got work-related social media presence (like my twitter feed linked here, for example), so that when I want to geek out and when I want people in my professional circles to see what I'm about, I've got somewhere to point to.

    It's a real effort to keep up with security settings on the biggest and most-easily-accessed social media networks, FB and g+, but it's worth it.

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  21. Right on, Kristy! Great tips. Hope this post saves people lots of costly embarassment. And wins lots of makeup.

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  22. Wise words! If you put information out there, you should be aware that any of it can come back to haunt you. Yikes! Thanks for the sage advice as always, Kristy.

    ps I need make up to look better than my tagged photos at my interviews...

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  23. Great ideas, Kristy!
    Happy to see you blogging. Missed you. And, oh yeah, how on earth do you do it with two????

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  24. Great tips - show them THE beat version of you, always!!!

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  25. There is some anxiety that a future hospital site may discover that I wrote a post about selling children to gypsies.

    But as long as I only want to work with adults I should be fine.

    Right?

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  26. Wisdom. That's what people gain from this post. I don't think it's so much our generation, although we've done some stupid stuff, but the younger ones who live on line 24/7 and know nothing different.

    Hey, maybe they'll be bloggers like us.

    Anyhoo, they don't think. I see it at the middle school all the time and when you try and explain that what they put online lives forever, am met with disdain and disbelief. *sigh*

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  27. Whee for free makeup! Oh, and valuable interview tips. :)

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  28. I replied to an ad posted on craig's list went in for the interview the next day and was hired because I told the company that I had worked for their competor and they didn't want to let me go. I have worked for them for 4 months now and I already got a raise....love social networking and smartphones....Kelly L

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  29. I'm in the social media bizz... all of my everything is not only public domain, but listed on my resume. It makes me (slightly) ashamed that I follow the entire cast of last season's Bachelor Pad on Twitter... I posted about hating that Grand Central was occupied during my commute, and got a response saying "don't make her late for american idol" -- I couldn't even be offended. ahhh..

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  30. I can't believe I had to wait soooooooo long for another post and it's basically an ad for an app. What about the diet? The kids? The holidays? What sorta hijinx have kept you away from us?

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  31. So glad I didn't waste time checking this blog over the past 3 weeks!

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  32. You're just mad because you didn't win random makeup and business card holders, Anonymous. Let's be honest here.

    Speaking of random winners...congratulations Lori O.! Random.org picked #27, so hurrah for you!

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  33. IT'S REALLY WONDERFUL BLOG ALSO " I LIKE IT "

    THANKS FOR SHARING VERY GOOD INFO.

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  34. Thanks lot for this useful article, nice post

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