Hiring, Social Media and Why Search Firms will stay relevant in the Age of Digitisation

Earlier this year, a top 10 ‘wines and spirits’ company approached me to hire someone for the position of their Marketing Head. The process took a few weeks. They had shortlisted a few candidates and HR came back asking for final validation to freeze on one particular candidate they liked. This man had all the necessary qualifications and experience. We initiated a set of formal and informal reference checks, and in the process of digging up a bit more, a colleague checked up his Facebook profile. We found that he liked his booze. Loved it, as a matter of fact, he had plenty of check-ins into various restaurants, loads of photos of what he was eating and drinking with witty comments.

This is a good thing when you’re in a liquor company. You want your marketing folks to like their drink. It adds that extra layer of authenticity, you know. Thing is, when we monitored his public stories and the details he was sharing, we found that he loved his drink a bit too much. The man was abusing his alcohol. The company decided it didn’t want that degree of involvement and didn’t hire the man.

We live our lives online. If we live carelessly then it doesn’t sit well with potential employers. We want to do formal reference checks, but a headhunter’s first point of reference is social media. And how you’re represented on social media is important. This Age of Digitization (you heard it here first!) has given us unprecedented access to a lot of data, but it hasn’t exactly turned that data into information. read more

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