The Rise of the Social Media Interview
There have been thousands of books written on the subject of how to effectively interview for a job. At some point, you would expect that all that could have possibly been said about acing a job interview has been said – right? Wrong. For in a world where social media continues to shape our existence far beyond anything that Mark Zuckerberg could ever have imagined, something new has evolved. That something is: the social media interview.
Social Media Interview(s): What Zuck Never Saw Coming
No, we’re not talking about a pre-interview that takes place with your potential employer via Facebook instant message. If anyone ever offers you a job through an IM, be wary. It may be a scam. At very least, don’t give your two weeks’ notice at your current job until you’ve met with that person face to face.
A Social media interview is quite different. Frequently, they take place without you even knowing about it. Do you have a Facebook page? A Twitter account? What about a LinkedIn profile? If you do, and you have applied for a job recently, you can expect that all three of those have been checked out by the very people who are considering calling you in for an interview.
Recently, we discussed the fact that a majority of hiring companies are now using social media networks to vet job applicants. And while many of you might think that this is a devious practice that smacks a little of Orwell’s 1984 and Big Brother, it actually makes a lot of sense. With the current unemployment rate where it is and with a surge of people looking for work, recruiters are having to get creative in order to weed out the truly remarkable job applicants and separate them from the rest. Using social media is just one way to accomplish that.
How to Nail the Social Media Interview
The great news is, you can use this fact to your advantage. Being hip to the rise of social media interviews is sort of like getting a heads-up that an inspection is coming your way. With this information, you can clean things up and make yourself look darned presentable – not to mention, hirable – when prospective employers come snooping. Here are a few suggestions on how to do that.
- Let ‘em know you know your stuff. Don’t waste time and space posting updates about how much you hated last night’s episode of The Walking Dead. Instead, be proactive with every Tweet and every Facebook post. If you’re looking for work as a web designer, share information that lets people know you’re up to speed with current web design trends.
- Don't brag, but talk yourself up. Play to your strengths by showing your knowledge about various facets of your industry. For example, if the extent of your experience has been doing web design for small businesses but you want to expand your reach, don’t pigeonhole yourself. Share information and discuss topics that trend toward where you want to go, rather than where you’ve been.
- Be opinionated, but don’t be a jerk. Your knowledge on industry issues is only a part of your appeal to a recruiter. You also have to be able to state your opinion on issues of importance to display the fact you’ve got a working knowledge of your industry and aren’t just parroting what others have said or posted. Be sure that when you do express an opinion, you do so respectfully. It may seem as though bullies have an advantage, but they tend not to last long. Because nobody likes a jerk.
- Don’t talk smack. One of the cardinal sins that people all too frequently commit is talking poorly about past employers – or current ones, for that matter. In short, don’t expect anyone to hire you if you do this frequently. At least don’t share your opinions on social media so that everyone can read them. Nobody wants to bring an employee on board who may potentially talk trash on them a week after being hired.
Vince F is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.
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