Why You Need to Self-Google Once a Week

by Meg Guiseppi on September 21, 2017

In executive job search, you need to build and safeguard your online personal brand and online reputation.

Online reputation in executive job search

Hopefully, you know that executive recruiters and hiring decision makers at your target companies are Googling your name, once they’ve put you on their list of potential good-fit candidates.

Your search results can be the deciding factor in whether they reach out to you, or cross you off their lists.

If you don’t self-Google, you’ll never know what they’re finding.

What if there is someone with your name involved in nefarious deeds, and people assessing you think you are that person?

What if someone has posted something negative about you (whether or not it’s true), that damages your reputation and could sabotage your chances?

You’ll be out of the running without even knowing it.

“But,” you say, “I don’t have an online footprint, and I don’t want one. I don’t want to put myself ‘out there’. I don’t need to self-Google at all.”

It may well be that you can land a job without having an online footprint, but those opportunities become more and more rare, as the digital age continues to invade nearly every aspect of our lives.

Face it, just to keep pace with your competitors, you need to get with it, and take control of your online reputation.

Take a look at your online footprint right now. Type your name into a Google search, and see what you find.

  • Do you “own” the first several search results?
  • Or does it take several pages of results before you get to anything related to you?
  • If you have a common first and last name, are you indistinguishable from the others with your name?
  • What information will people find about you when they click on those search results?
  • Is it what you need them to know about you and your potential value to the companies or organizations you want to work for?

What are recruiters and employers looking for when they Google candidates?

Social proof

If they know you, or you’ve already sent them your resume, they want to see evidence online backing up the claims you’ve made in your resume and elsewhere. They know that people are more likely to tell the truth in the content they post online, than in documents they send to select people.

Social media engagement

Is your social media presence non-existent, barely active, moderately active, or super-active? At the very least, you need to have a fully-populated LinkedIn profile. And you should consider having at least some kind of presence elsewhere – Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc.

The vast majority of executive recruiters use social recruiting (social networks and social media) to source and assess talent. They’re actively looking for people like you there. If you’re not there, they’re going to wonder whether you’re social media savvy and know how to operate in the digital world.

Your photo

Studies have shown that people relate to content better when it’s associated with a photo of the author. Make sure you have a professional-looking, close-up headshot that is not looking away from the content.

Reasons to rule you out

If hiring decision makers are innundated with an overload of candidates, they’ll set the bar higher to whittle down the candidate pool. Unfortunately, that can mean that some great-fit candidates will be ruled out if they find “digital dirt”, and never given the chance to dispute the negative search results, if they’re untrue.

In a competitive job market, employers demand (and get) the very best of the best candidates, who have squeaky-clean online footprints.

The 5 key elements of a strong online personal brand

Will people find these critical elements in your search results – relevance, quality, diversity, volume, consistency?

Striving to meet these elements will increase the number of search results for your name. The better your online reputation, the better you position yourself online. The stronger your presence online, the more appealing you’ll be to the people who can most help you meet your career goals.

So, you see, you must be diligent in building and safeguarding your online reputation.

Get into the habit of self-Googling about once a week. If negative search results for your name appear, do whatever you can to have them taken down. If that’s not possible, work hard at building up positive, brand-reinforcing search results, to supplant the bad ones.

A tip for accurate search results:

Google personalizes results based on your search history, so it’s a good idea, from time to time, to use someone else’s computer to self-Google. You may see different results. Also, it’s best to be logged out of any Google accounts (Google+, Gmail, etc.).

Executive Job Search and Personal Branding Help

Land a GREAT-FIT New Executive GigNeed help with personal branding, your LinkedIn profile, resume and biography, and getting your executive job search on track?

Schedule a GET STARTED / GET UNSTUCK Executive Job Search Strategy Session with me, and move towards landing a great-fit new gig faster.

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photo by DonkeyHotey

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An Executive Recruiter’s Advice on Answering 15 Common Job Interview Questions

If you’re job-hunting and job interviews are looming, you’ve probably done some research on what kinds of questions you’ll be asked.

If you have no idea what you may be asked, and expect to nail interviews with zero preparation, you may be in for some very uncomfortable and awkward conversations, combined with that sinking feeling afterwards that you didn’t come across well at all.

You need to be prepared, as best you can, for anything they may ask you. If something comes at you from left field – a question you’ve never heard anyone ask in an interview – rely on telling a short career success story.

In your interview prep work, one important exercise is going back to the CARs (Challenge – Action – Results) strategy you should have used to develop content for your resume, bio, LinkedIn profile, etc, around the valuable contributions you’ve made to current and past employers . . . the things you’ve done for them that boosted revenue, streamlined operations, increased profit margin, improved team performance, etc.

Certain questions and conversation prompts are inevitable in job interviews and, even if you haven’t researched what these are, you can probably guess:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

In your research, you’ll probably come across these common questions, but you may not come across sound advice for how to answer them.

An Executive Recruiter’s Advice on Answering 15 Common Job Interview Questions

Recruiter Jeff Lipschultz is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a Dallas-based recruiting and employment consulting company. He’s also Job-Hunt.org’s Working with Recruiters Expert.

His article, Smart Answers to 15 Common Interview Questions, is one of the best and most helpful I’ve seen for how to prepare the best possible answers.

Jeff advises that it’s really all about differentiating yourself and the value you offer.

How do you know what differentiates you from competing candidates? Do the personal branding work to identify the unique set of qualities and qualifications you possess that no one else does.

Along with the 3 questions I noted above, Jeff zeroes in on how to handle these:

  • Why should we hire you?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What do you know about us?
  • How do people describe you?
  • When can you start?
  • How did you find this job?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why do you want to leave your current job?
  • Why did you quit your last job?
  • Why were you fired?
  • Explain your gap in employment
  • Do you have any questions?

Here’s how he advises dealing with “When can you start?”

This one may seem to be a fairly innocuous question, but Jeff says to be careful:

“It doesn’t mean that you ‘got the job’. They may be just checking to add that to their notes. You must keep your guard up until you are in your car and driving away from the interview.

If you are currently employed, you should be honest about the start date and show professionalism. You should tell them you would have to discuss a transition with your current company to see if they require a two-week notice (or some other timing). If you currently have a critical role, your potential new employer would expect a transition period.

If you can start right away (and they know you are not currently employed), you certainly can say you’re able to start tomorrow. Sense of urgency and excitement about starting work at the new company is always a good thing.”

And his best advice on “Why do you want to leave your current job?”

This is one that my clients fret over often, and Jeff says it can be a deal breaker.

If you disparage your current employer, the interviewer will assume you’ll do the same to them eventually. And if you say you’re leaving because you aren’t earning enough, they’ll also assume the worst.

Of course, you need to spin the reason you left or want to leave in a positive way. Jeff advises:

“Highlight a reason that the hiring manager cannot be concerned about.

Your current company or department may have become unstable (hopefully the interviewer’s company is very stable). Your current employer may not be able to offer you any professional growth (the interviewer’s should be able to do this).

Of course, if you have an issue that is very important to you that could be a deal-breaker (like company culture), you can mention it. Just be prepared for them to take one extreme or the other. For example, maybe you only want to work for companies that buy from vendors in your home country. The hiring manager will let you know if their company does this. And if they don’t, I guess the interview is over.”

Let’s look at how both Jeff and I suggest you answer the “Do you have any questions?” query.

Jeff says:

“My simple advice is: yes, you had better have questions.

This is your chance to ‘interview the interviewer’. In essence, to learn about the company, the role, the corporate culture, the manager’s leadership style, and a host of other important things. Candidates who are genuinely interested in the opportunity, ask these types of questions. Those who don’t ask questions give the impression they’re ‘just kicking the tires’ or not really too concerned about getting the job.”

And my advice:

Definitely be prepared to ask intelligent questions about the company, culture and job. Go back to the initial targeting and research work you did on that company, as you started your job search.

The interview process is all about you and the company assessing each other for good fit. This is part of your due diligence. Now is the time to find out if this job and company are really right for you. It’s okay, and wise, to bring along to the interview your list of the questions you want to ask.

Here are the kinds of questions you should be asking:

  • What does your best-fit candidate look like?
  • Why is the position open?
  • What responsibilities in this job are really going to define success for this person?
  • What skills and qualities will be most important in this position?
  • If there’s a job description, may I see a copy of it?
  • What will my first assignment be?
  • What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
  • [If this is a short-term consulting position] How long do you expect the project to last?
  • Any major changes coming internally that I should know about?
  • Where do you see this division/company in the next five years?
  • How can I demonstrate that I’m a good fit for this position?
  • What do you (the interviewer) like and not like about working here?
  • [As things are wrapping up] What are the next steps? I’m very interested in this position, will you consider me for further interviews? When will I hear from you? May I touch base in a week to see how things are moving along?

More about Job Interviewing and Executive Job Search

How to Land, Brand and Ace Executive Job Interviews

5 Must-Do’s To Land More Executive Job Interviews

The Secret Weapon for Job-Winning Interviews

Are You Executive Job Search-Ready?

10 Best Ways to Get More Executive Job Interviews

Executive Job Search and Personal Branding Help

Land a GREAT-FIT New Executive GigNeed help with personal branding, your LinkedIn profile, resume and biography, and getting your executive job search on track?

Schedule a GET STARTED / GET UNSTUCK Executive Job Search Strategy Session with me, and move towards landing a great-fit new gig faster.

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12 Ways To Build Personal Brand Evangelism

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by Meg Guiseppi August 28, 2017

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