In my initial conversation with prospective clients (c-level and senior executives), we discuss how today’s executive job search works.
We talk about targeting, personal branding, LinkedIn, online presence, and working with executive recruiters.
Social recruiting (executive recruiters’ and other hiring professionals’ use of social networking and social media to source and assess candidates) is now the norm in executive job search.
How Executive Recruiters Use Social Recruiting
The vast majority of these people scrutinize candidates’ social networking activity to qualify or rule them out.
Initially, to find candidates, they typically search LinkedIn using relevant keywords and keyword phrases.
To qualify candidates they have identified, they will Google each one’s name and see what they find across the search results.
. . . And they will dig deep, doing advanced searches and reviewing many pages of search results.
Anything posted on social media accounts that is open to the public will be visible to them, and they’ll take it all into account when deciding whether someone is a viable candidate.
According to job search social media expert Hannah Morgan (@CareerSherpa on Twitter), recruiters and employers look for things like:
- Information that supports a candidate’s qualifications.
- The professionalism of a candidate’s online persona.
- What other people are po sting about candidates.
- A reason not to hire a candidate.
4 things executive recruiters look for in candidates
An article by Ariella Coombs on Work It Daily outlines 4 of the things in particular that executive recruiters are looking for when they search “your name”:
1. You know your stuff.
Part of your online branding strategy should be to promote your expertise and unique value to your target employers. If you claim you’re an expert in a particular field, they want to see information online that backs it up. They want social proof.
2. You’re not bad-mouthing your former employer.
First, these people assessing you will not be impressed by your complaints about your current or past jobs. Also, they’ll be worried that you may do the same thing to them, if they hire you.
3. You have a personality.
Culture fit is very important to employers. Good fit usually means they’ve hired someone who won’t jump ship too soon, or negatively impact the team dynamic, or cause other problems. Giving a feel for your personality in your job search materials and online presence helps employers see whether you’ll be a good fit. Don’t be afraid to lean on the “personal” part of personal branding.
4. You’re not posting about inappropriate stuff.
Studies show that employers avoid candidates who make bigoted comments, or boast about illegal drug use, or other questionable activities. It’s not much of a stretch to understand that people who so easily tarnish their own personal brands could also easily tarnish the company brand and/or cause discord among employees.
What should your takeaway be?
As I stress to my clients, hiding in the shadows and avoiding social media is no longer an option.
A solid executive job search strategy must include social networking, along with real-life networking. You need to be visible wherever your target employers are looking for candidates like you.
Their recruiters and hiring authorities rely on social media to find candidates like you.
You need to be there, building your online presence and participating proactively, carefully and meaningfully.