Scoring a Job in the Digital Age

Featured post by guest blogger Brooke Bonime

 “Twenty-five percent of our new hires come from social media. Seventy-five percent typically come from word of mouth.”
Ben Kirshner, Founder and CEO of media marketing company in New York, Elite SEM

In 1991, the way in which humans connected changed when the World Wide Web became publicly available. In the first stage there was the distribution of information, then there was the era of connection and communication (with the rise of social media), now people are looking for ways to take their online experience and merge it with their real-life experience.

Every industry has been affected by the advancement of the internet, connections, and the way people gather information. The news has evolved into digital format, movies are streamed instead of rented, emails and Facebook messages are ways to communicate instead of letters or even the telephone.

None of this is news. People have adapted, embraced and driven these changes. However, there is one change that has taken the world a little bit longer to accept. The Internet has irrevocably altered the way we hunt for talent and search for jobs. While looking through the classifieds may have ended long ago, the digital application submitted to a nameless, numberless person has created new challenges for the modern-day unemployed.

In addition, hunting for talent for your own company is no longer solely through word of mouth or applications, but now, the talent is found through search engines, online assessments and social media networks. With more people on the Web than ever and a competitive job market, standing out is key in this digital era. Individual seeking jobs have a surplus of tools to help him or her perfect skills and seek advice. But with an overabundance of information on the Internet, it can be hard to be selective in what information you wish to adopt or ignore.

Here are a few tips for using the Internet to your advantage and landing the job of your choice:

1. Research. It is typical for the first question an interviewer will ask to be, “What does our company do?” While it may seem like an obvious one, it is surprising how many applicants fail to correctly answer this question. Do your research well before your interview; know the company inside and out. Take your time researching every aspect of the company whether that is their social media channels or understanding the company’s industry. Remember, you can never do enough research and you can never know too much information about the company. The more you know, the more you will impress the interviewer. Practice on a friend to make sure you have the interview down pat.

2. Connect Before the Interview. Before the interview, it is important to occasionally check out the company’s social media outlets. Be sure to like some of their posts, leave a few comments, re-tweet or pin what you find interesting. Though you may think that no one will notice your engagement, you may be surprised. The reality is that many recruiters prefer finding talent on social media through Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn rather than job sites.

Another tip: if the company sponsors or organizes events, make it a point to attend them. This will allow you to meet some of the representatives from the company and it may help you get that “in” that you need. If possible, connect with the representative on LinkedIn afterwards.

3. Build Your Social Media Presence. Are you active in the social media world? Do you blog, Yelp, Tweet, Pin, have a lot of friends on Facebook, post photos to Instagram and have a lot of followers on all of these outlets? If so, keep it up and continue growing your social sphere. If you are not as active, get to it! Social media is becoming a critical component recruiters use to analyze how passionate you are about digital media. If you are unfamiliar with any social media channels, you may be surprised by the amount of information, tools and tips you can find by using a search engine. It is a great place to start. If you are familiar and want to further enhance your knowledge of social media, check out sites like Mashable, Real Time Media, or Social Media Examiner to read articles on how to build your social media presence.

4. Be Prepared. If you can, find out how the interview will be structured. If you know ahead of time who your interviewers will be, do some research and find out as much as possible about them.

Ask questions. Be sure to ask questions that are well thought out and precise, questions that they do not get asked during every interview. Writing questions down ahead of time will help.

If you are worried about what to wear to the interview, use social media to get an idea of the company’s dress code. Check out their Facebook page, blog or website for photos in the news. Now that you have an idea, dress it up a notch.

5. Arrive Early. It is better to be early than late, so if you have to leave an hour earlier than normal to ensure promptness, then do it. It is best to arrive at least fifteen minutes ahead of your scheduled start.

6. Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself. Companies want people with different interests and talents. If you like working in different areas, express that in your interview. If you have one specific talent but have other hobbies and interests, let that be known. You want to show your true self in the interview.

7. Keep the Details in Mind. These small reminders might seem silly but they can make all the difference.

1. Shut your phone off.
2. Do not chew gum.
3. Do not play with your hair.
4. Don’t say “yeah” or “like.”
5. Don’t interrupt or talk over the interviewer.
6. Maintain eye contact.
7. Sit up straight.
8. Remain engaged at all times.
9. If you need clarification, ask.
10. Be confident.

8. Follow Up and Maintain Contact. Now that the interview is over, you still have one more step to complete. Make sure to get everyone’s business card that you talked to and send a thank-you email that day. Then check in with interviewer and see how the selection process is going.

9. Take note. If you do not get the job, that is okay. Take it as a learning experience, improve your talking points and remain positive communication with the company. Do not burn your bridges because you never know when another position may open up and the company contacts you because they think you are a great fit. If you do get the job, congratulations! But remember, you can always improve. Talk to the interviewer and ask for suggestions as to how you could have been even more successful during the interview.

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