Are social media and recruitment consultants helpful or a hindrance when looking for a job. Edward Andrew says it's your career, be careful not to blow it.
In my former life I was a head-hunter for 14 years and I am certainly not anti-recruiters. I am also a big fan of social media when used sensibly. However, it always amazed me then, and now wearing a different hat as an employer and business owner, how otherwise successful people become unstuck when dealing with the recruitment process. Perfectly rational, confident professional men and women suddenly lose all sense of virtue and prostrate themselves on the altar of recruitment only to be thoroughly disembowelled and in some cases butchering their career in the process.
Now of course this is only the exception and hopefully not the norm but my point is that it is your career and do not be led astray during the recruitment process. If you can manage a court room of lawyers and judges or a boardroom of bankers and executives, why let your guard down in arguably one the most important roles in your professional career – finding and negotiating the next job.
All of you who have had successful experiences with the recruitment process need read no further except for amusement.
This week as I had a truly comic experience with a recruiter and, although laughably bad, it is serious. They shall remain anonymous, though that is being very kind to them. The mortal sin that they committed was to tell the candidate that they should forget about their last job, erase it from the CV and their mind, look the interviewer in the eye and lie as best you can.
Why? Simply because leaving a job after five weeks could be seen poorly by a potential employer, obviously not as poorly as wilful deceit. If the guilty person decided on this path on their own then maybe it is understandable but this was advice from a professional who was expecting to get paid. So the candidate spent the entire interview telling us about their current role which of course they had left months ago, even explaining quite diligently the notice period they would need to serve.
Forget the recruiter for a minute, everyone else will, but why did the candidate feel the need to lie and follow the poor advice? Well clearly in this case the candidate felt that the recruiter held the position of power and knowledge and that they would know best. Not a great decision and of course humans are fallible. However, what really made it funny was that this particular person was very honest in their LinkedIn profile, detailing their work history and giving the game away entirely.
So my advice, if you want it, is to apply the same level of honesty and diligence when job searching that you would in your every day life as a professional, don’t let others dictate to you. Use the same level of integrity as you would at work and if you feel that you are not getting it then use your intuition and walk away. Being led like a lamb to slaughter does no-one any good. If you use social or professional media you must expect potential employers to check you out, it is part of the referencing process, in this case your own personal testimony.
Edward Andrew is the CEO of twosteps (www.twosteps.com)