Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sex Sells

We’ve all heard the old adage that sex sells. In our culture testaments to this influence are everywhere. Yesterday by coincidence or divine intervention, I was witness to two similar but different scenarios that motivated me to take to writing this morning.

Scenario 1

Yesterday on LinkedIn I saw a “conversation” between a couple executives regarding a “recruiter” that had requested to “connect” with one of those executives.  So the conversation between “recruiter” and executive goes something like this:

Executive:Do I know you?
Recruiter: I’m a Recruiter in your industry and it would be good to know each other.
Executive: Why
Recruiter: You are very unprofessional.
Executive: I’m not familiar with you.
Recruiter:  With your attitude I couldn’t help you anyway.

This is not exactly word for word as I’m going from memory, but very similar to how the conversation went between the executive and the supposed recruiter looking to connect on LinkedIn. By the way, while beauty is skin deep and in the eye of the beholder, by most people’s measure, the photo the “recruiter” used was that of an extremely attractive female with cleavage boosting lingerie.

No offense to all the very attractive recruiters out there but typically professional attire is still the most acceptable standard for your internet image verse a provocative cleavage boosting Victoria’s Secret lingerie photo.

Please now read this blog post from a few weeks ago:

Scenario 2

I rarely watch television, however my wife has me hooked on the Investigation Discovery channel.  There is a show called Web of Lies. The stories are real life reenactments of tragedies dealing with the internet. Last night a 16 year old girl accepted a Facebook friend request from a supposed 17 year old boy in the next town over.  They developed an online relationship(boy friend/girlfriend). She had never actually met him in person. She had only seen the photo he provided. He guilted her into sending him some topless photos. Fast forward a couple weeks into the online relationship and she is dead. The 17 year old boy in the next town over was a 39 year old male predator.

So what do these two stories have in common?  Sex sells. The internet can be used to steal your personal information. The internet can be deadly. Let common sense be your judge. Please think before you engage with anyone on the internet.

Scot Dickerson, CPC

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Must Read: What Everyone Needs to Know About Social Media

Part One – The Trickle-Down Effect
This is part one of a three part series on social media. Two or three years ago numerous articles, blogs and other informational resources were written including by yours truly, regarding how employers were using social media as a tool in their hiring decisions. 

The use of social media sites for hiring decisions has since grown, and what employers look for has become more sophisticated than just an unprofessional photo.

There has also been a trickle-down effect. Employers are not just looking at what you’ve posted in the last week or month but will even go back to your college and high school days. Remember, what you post on the internet, stays on the internet. The internet is not Las Vegas after all.  It is an open domain for the entire world, literally, to see.

Social media, relatively speaking, is a newer phenomenon.  We are now just really seeing the impact of what was done within social media a few years back on how decisions are being made across the board in using social media today. We should use this in educating youth on both the short and long term impact of choices they make on social media.

When many of us were growing up, a large part of parenting was knowing who your kids were with, where they were at and hoping they were making good choices.  Today parents must be active participants in their children’s social media activities.  You can’t allow kids to “learn from their mistakes” when it comes to socially publishing something. Before social media, a hurtful comment made could be forgotten. Today they don’t disappear.  Worse yet they can be shared, retweeted, etc.

Parents, teachers, counselors and coaches all need to be aware of what is happening on social media. They must be actively monitoring students' accounts.

We’ve been hearing more and more about the importance of student-athletes using social media appropriately. Whether using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube or other channels, athletes who aspire to collegiate recruitment should remain aware that coaches, assistants, or others in a college program are tracking their recruits' social behavior. With so much at stake in terms of how scholarships are awarded and the risks of recruiting a player who may damage team culture, many collegiate athletic programs even are monitoring the accounts of their recruits' friends.

Social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s a fantastic way to engage with others and to stay updated with the latest news and notes of the world. Many athletes use social media to enhance their reputations and show their personalities, which often can be misinterpreted on the field of play.

But it’s extremely dangerous as well, capable of derailing a career before it even starts. There are numerous stories surfacing about the damage it can do to a high school talent. When you put on your school’s uniform, you are now a part of something that is bigger than yourself.  Think before you tweet.

Look, it’s not about the individual student. Sports are about teamwork, and selfishness can occur off the field just as easy as it can on it.

But this is not just limited to the importance of student-athletes using social media appropriately. Colleges are also looking at high school applicants’ social profiles to see if the respective student is the “right fit” for their college or university.

Fast forward, you are out of school. Now when you put on your attire to head to the office, you are part of something that is bigger than yourself.

So what are hiring managers and human resources professionals looking for when it comes to an individual applicant’s social media activity?

  1. Does the candidate present himself or herself professionally?
  2. Is the candidate a good fit for the company culture?
  3. Has the candidate created posts that could be hurtful to others now or at any time?
  4. Is the candidate a good team player or is it all about them?
  5. Learn more about the candidate’s qualifications.
  6. Is the candidate well-rounded?

A third (34%) of employers who use social media in their hiring decisions said they have found content that has caused them not to hire the candidate. About half of those employers said they didn’t offer a job candidate the position because of provocative or inappropriate photos, inappropriate posts, and/or other information posted on his or her profile; while 45% said they chose not to hire someone because of evidence of drinking and/or drug use on his or her social profiles.

Other reasons they decided not to offer the job: the candidate had made posts directed at other students while attending school including online bullying, the candidate’s profile displayed poor communication skills, he or she bad mouthed previous employers, made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, or religion, or lied about qualifications.

The choices made yesterday, today and tomorrow on social media can have real life impact on an individual’s future. As a society we must become more active in better choices when using social media. It all starts with each individual accepting responsibility for actively participating in the education of youth and others you have an influence over.

UP NEXT: Part Two of this series will discuss using social media to positively posture yourself.

Scot Dickerson, CPC

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Action Items for a Great Professional Start to 2016


You’re happy with your current employment situation. That’s great news. You’re not pleased with your current employment situation. It happens. That’s okay. There are a number of reasons why that may be.

Regardless of your situation go into the new year with a fresh perspective. Change up your office space even if just a few tweaks. Tidy up. Reorganize. Hang a new picture on the wall. Replace a chair. Replace another piece of office furniture. Get new up to date pictures on your desk of your family or pet(s).

In addition here are some action items to get your year off to a great start:

Review the past year. Oftentimes we forget to recognize our own successes before moving on to the next big thing. Think about what worked for you in 2015 and what did not, then start thinking about what you’d like to do differently in 2016.

Set goals for the new year. You might have thought about new goals at the end of 2015–but as you return to the office this year, really think about where you ultimately want to be in your career and set a plan that will get you there.

Try for unconventional benefits at work.  Companies will be looking for ways to retain their top talent, so try asking for a benefit that you might not have considered before, like a flexible schedule or the option to telecommute.

Reinforce your network. Check in with your close clients and co-workers to let them know you’re back from vacation, and catch up on how they spent their holidays. If you missed the opportunity to send out holiday cards, consider sending out New Year’s greetings.

Be clear on your priorities. This will help in decision making when conflicting demands are made of your time and energies.

Learn to omit the negative and be positive. Omitting the negative means learning from the inevitable negative experiences you will encounter without dwelling on them or letting them consume you. Remember, tough times do not last; tough people do.

Do an audit of your current job. Ask yourself: What do I love about my job? What would I change if I could? What are my road bumps or bottlenecks? How can those be eliminated or improved? What are my goals for 2016?

Try to enhance your brand so that it stays fresh. Have your resume reviewed by trusted industry professionals. Take a good look at your LinkedIn profile. Is it built out correctly? Is the photo up to date? Are you a member of the maximum number of applicable industry groups?

Create a folder to capture your accomplishments. Take the time to create your own way to track your successes to make them easily at hand and top of mind.

Scot Dickerson, CPC
President, Capstone Search