Friday, 10 May 2013

Social Media impact on your career

If you think that the “Likes” & “comments” on your Facebook, are privy to your friends, then you better stand corrected. Or if you feel that your profile on LinkedIn or Facebook or any other social sites is only seen by your connections, then you may be in complete dark of the situation. Today, most recruiters / employers, “peep” into your social media profiles to understand your lifestyle, attitude, network, etc. to analyse your candidature. With social media becoming a norm of our “Neo-Generation Lifestyle”, where we express our mind or even “Share” a comment of something we like or dislike, this is being seen, watched and observed with great detail by many professional connects & your prospective “Employer”.
Your behaviour on these social sites is perceived by the prospective employers & helps them to make the decision to hire you or reject your candidature. Recently, one of our good clients, rejected a candidate after giving him an offer letter because the candidate was jobless since 3 months, but had his current status as working with the previous employer. The employer noticed this & immediately withdrew the offer, stating that he has lied to the organisation & misinformed them. While many of us take updating of our profiles lightly on various social sites, more n more employers rely on the social network to know about the candidate.
So, your social media network shall henceforth be faces of your candidature, hence don’t take it lightly. 
The retail sector in India is said to be one of the largest employers and expected to grow three fold in the coming few years with the expansion of organized retail. What could be the driving factor to fill the manpower requirements for such a mammoth expansion? With the growing expansion, opportunities for front-end jobs, store management jobs, Accounts & Finance, merchandising, etc. will be in its full swing. Employers will look at cross – industry verticals for middle management roles, but where will the supply come for the junior management and entry level jobs.
The Retail Job scenario in India is very good and looking at the FDI and the growth factor, the need is clear and transparent. The scope for a retail career seems to be easy for the population since Retailers are looking for fresh candidates rather than any educational qualification or prior experience. Retailers are eyeing for candidates equipped with problem-solving approach and should be a team player. He/she should be able to manage group of people and connect with associates. Hence it is important to recruit resources with an attitude to service customers and people-oriented. And, there is no pre-qualification for this ability, except for high-end luxury retail brands that look out for polished candidates with excellent communication and presentation skills.

Traditionally it were employers who had to make themselves visible when looking to fill positions by posting adverts in the press, then choosing a pool of candidates from a veritable tsunami of applicants. But with the rise of social media and social networking sites, its very easy for a potential candidate to draw employers attention towards their profiles through various social media’s other than traditional job boards since 40% of the young HR’s use social media to filter their candidates.

Social media is making it easier to find the right jobs for potential job seekers and to connect to the right people that can help them get those jobs. Many job seekers are still using traditional job search methods that are yielding poor results. Though traditional job boards still count as a major source of recruitment, still new age recruiters depend on social media either to source the candidates or to get relevant information about them. Given an instance, few of our clients check candidates’ Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter accounts before interviewing them. Being in the retail industry, they make sure about a candidates behavioral pattern through these social sites. They see their photos, their social nature, and their command over language through the postings on their walls, their habits, etc. It’s almost like viewing a profile from matrimonial site or through reference, than digging out information about that person before meeting them. People think that these social networking sites are just a tool for passing time, meeting friends, networking, etc. But they are not aware that these are the ones that open up their entire life history in front of a stranger. A classic example for such an incident happened when an offer was revoked for a very senior candidate when he tweeted “3 offers in 7 days, which one do I accept”. It clearly described his behavior and non-serious attitude towards a job change and that he was“shopping”.
But you don’t have to end up like these professionals!!! By understanding who you are, what differentiates you in the job market and establishing your personal branding online, you can compete in the new talent marketplace. Once you have built your own social network profiles, you are ready to start leveraging your relationships and talents to get the job of your dream. By creating a good network and clean image on social site, you can increase your chances of getting the desired job. Every tweet, every post on social sites can be taken as a reference to judge you. So be aware of what you want to show to people. It’s not only your friends who will see all these but your potential employers as well. Few things to really take care of while using social sites are:
1)     Be very specific about your privacy settings and adding connections. If you suggest to show all your posts hidden to public and visible only to your connection, but than you add everyone as a connection. The purpose is still not served. You are still like an open book, which can be read by anyone. So be very specific about your privacy settings and adding people in your network.
2)    Improve your personal Branding: Make an impressive profile by gathering lot of relevant but true data. Add as many connections that you know. Add in your full information, key skills, education, etc. so that employers can know about you. Recommendations from superiors or clients will always work for you.
3)   Don’t reveal your Urge for a Change: Easiest method to publicize your urgency is by publishing few posts like “Urgently looking for a Job”, or “Please help me with…” etc. But do not forget that your current employers can also view the same. Rather publish some relevant contents in job sections and be visible.
4)     Check what you publish: A person was sacked from his office because he messaged his boss that he wants a leave as his parents were not well and everyone was shocked to see that. Later it was revealed that at 4 in the morning he posted on his wall in a drunken stage that he had partied whole night. So every word that you write consciously or unconsciously, but it counts. So beware of what you post on social sites, it can go against you many a times.
5)     Join various groups: All networking sites have different group, which are either skill specific or industry specific. These groups are formed by individuals to share knowledge, but than these are the best hunting grounds for recruiters. Many such groups are formed by headhunting firms as well to attract similar job hunters. Your visibility in these groups keeps you updated of the various openings available in the market for your kind of skills and also makes your profile visible to hundreds of recruiters.
Now its up to the candidates to capitalize on the opportunities and make their presence felt to the recruiters. Industry demands are huge and will grow more and more within the coming few years. It’s a golden opportunity for graduates and postgraduate fresher’s to give a fresh start to their careers for an organized growing industry. Start doing your research today. See where you fit in the retail industry, what suits you and what you think you can be best at. Currently the needs are clear and hiring is on its best. Soon these requirements will become complex and clients will be choosy. So it’s right time to hit the right industry and make a mark in it before it becomes completely organized..

Note, your social media network communicates more to the prospective employer, than your resume. So, the best way is to keep an eye on your “likes”, “Comments” & “Share” and most importantly, keep your profiles across all social websites, updated.

Note: This article was published in Retail Today magazine, March 2013 issue.

About the author:
Barkat Charania, is the Chief Executive Officer of a specialty Retail Executive Search Firm “Beyond Talent”, founded by retail industry stalwart, Mr. Susil S. Dungarwal.  Barkat has over a decade’s experience in placements & Head hunting, and has been an avid follower of the Retail sector. Beyond Talent Management Pvt. Ltd. currently, works with many leading retailers, for fulfilling the talent crunch across various verticals of Retail on a pan India basis.

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