The funny thing about social media is…it’s all out there. People forget that the information they share extends way beyond their screens. Recently, I’ve noticed an uptick in people talking about job search, specifically, their own job searches on social platforms.
“Does anyone know of any opportunities?” “I got laid off. Anyone have any leads?”
Putting yourself out there is risky. While well intended, each person who responds forces you to deviate from your strategic search with the hope a lead will come to fruition. The problem is most leads go nowhere. The likelihood of putting out a desperation call – and getting a positive outcome – is slim to none. It’s not likely because you put yourself in a position to respond to every possibility, and that lack of focus – even when managed professionally – steals time.
Job search is best when confidential.
A confidential approach to job search gives you flexibility (and protection if you’re currently employed). You can explore new opportunities, and validate those opportunities to determine if they’re right for you. If an opportunity is better, great. If it’s not, then you have the security of knowing your value in the market at that time. If you maintain your professionalism, and communication with the company, opportunities may arise again, and they will think of you.
A vocal job search may sound like a good idea, but it diminishes a candidate’s ability to affect the timeline of an interview process. If a hiring leader is interested in a candidate, s/he will move quickly to take the candidate through the process. We refer to that as “Showing the candidate the love.” The truth is that every candidate should be shown the love. That is, candidates should be treated with courtesy, professionalism, and respectful communication. Most employers don’t want to miss out on their chance to hire a talented person, especially when many other employers are vying for the same talent pool. [Side note: a quick process doesn’t always me two days and done. A quick process could take weeks if the communication is strong, and the process is clear.]
When a candidate posts about his or her unemployment on social platforms, potential hiring leaders view the post as a reason for pause, rather than a reason to act with immediate interest.
Hiring leaders wonder why candidates job search unexpectedly. Stuff happens. People leave companies for valid reasons. Yet, the first inclination is to think the candidate was terminated. It may be an unfair assumption, but it is often the first thing a hiring professional considers when s/he looks at a panicked post from someone begging for a job. Hiring leaders will question skills and ability, and sometimes move hesitantly to see if there is a better candidate, rather than proceeding aggressively with a candidate they believe is desperate. Desperate candidates often leave as soon as they find another opportunity. Employers have been burned.
There is a better way to say what you want to say.
Spreading the word. Smart job search includes reaching out to contacts, colleagues, friends, and family (in some cases). How you communicate makes all the difference. A casting call is easy. Social platforms let you put it out there. But, once you put out your message, you end up siting back and waiting…and waiting.
Instead, try developing a short list. A short list should include no more than 10 people. Start with your social platforms. Scroll through your connections. First, it’s a quick way to remind yourself whom you already know. Second, you can refine your short list by searching contacts in your location (or the location of interest). Craft a quick message that you can use via email, direct message, or voicemail with a little tweaking. Keep it simple.
The subject should read, “Expertise” or “Referral”. Short subject headings get the most responses. The message should say something like:
Hello [First]. We know each other [insert details (e.g. through LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter or through our mutual friend)]. I’ve come to appreciate your point of view. Confidentially, I’m considering a career move, and I value your professional input. When would it be convenient to speak?
Chances are, you will get a response. People appreciate knowing they are appreciated. Everyone wants to feel valued, and when you show respect for someone’s time and expertise, you often solidify relationships and create supporters. Jump on the response quickly. Show the person, through your actions, that s/he is important to you. Secure day and time, and clarify who is calling who.
If you don’t get a response, don’t take it personally. People are busy. Try again, and again, if you have to, but always be respectful. There is a fine line between persistence and harassment. Tread lightly. Stay resolute. Move through your short list. Then, make another short list, and another if you need to. Work smart; tactically to manage your search, so you know whom to call, and when to call.
Having the conversation. The gist of the conversation should focus on a particular subject matter of which the person is an expert or leader. An example:
I admire your career progression, and the companies where you developed your skills. What do you attribute your success to? What’s been the most impactful thing you’ve been a part of in your career?
Finding meaning is important to everyone. When you ask a person about his/her own growth, development, or advancement, you give that person a chance to speak about him/herself. More so, you are fostering a burgeoning relationship. An example:
Is there a particular attribute or culture that you have sought in a company that has led you to be successful thus far? What advice would you give me to seek out and connect with companies that could provide me with a similar experience? Is there anyone you would suggest I speak with?
Wrapping it up and moving on. Knowing when to stop talking is a subtle tactic for getting additional information. Listen carefully. Take direction. Follow up. If you are given a lead, thank the person. Showing gratitude sets the tone for the relationship. Be sure to note who and when you got the lead. Later, whether the lead materialized or not, follow up so there is closure.
Stay diligent. Don’t saturate. You’ve invested a lot in your career – and on your social platform(s) – to this point. Use your tools to support your search, not to broadcast it. You’ll have a much better outcome.
David Rose is a Partner and VP of Talent Acquisition with YELLLOW DOG Recruiting, a firm focused on placing leaders in the hospitality and service industries.