When a head of block management or head of accounts receives your CV from BBL, we suspect they will do one or more of the following:
- Shortlist it (hopefully) and invite you for interview
- Ask trusted peers in the industry if they know anything about you
- Look you up online.
Part of a reputable recruiter’s role is to vet candidates before passing CVs to prospective employers. However, many employers want to do their own ‘background checks’ and the easiest way of achieving that is to delve into your online presence.
What channels will they use to find me online?
Employers may simply Google your name along with your IRPM letters to narrow down the search. A Google search may find charitable donations you’ve made, your Facebook profile, forums that you have commented on…Anything and everything. Google your own name in inverted commas and see what comes up.
They will almost certainly look you up on LinkedIn, as long as they don’t give away that they have been looking at your profile!
A probe into your Twitter account is easily done as the platform encourages openness. A search for you on Facebook may seem a tad intrusive but assume it might happen.
OK, but what are employers looking for?
As most of us have open profiles on LinkedIn, employers will no doubt look at your activity levels. What have been posting? What do you ‘like’ or share? How involved in the industry are you? Who are your mutual connections?
They may compare your CV to your job history on LinkedIn. Are there any gaps on either that aren’t easily explained? Do the dates tally?
Our standard BBL CV format does not include your photo, so curious employers may wish to see what you look like.
It should not come as a surprise that employers will want to determine if you’re the right FIT for their business. Are you a serious head-down kind of a worker, or are you a sociable, chatty person who gets in early and works late to make up for plenty of water-cooler moments? Whatever is on your social media accounts, the employer will make assumptions about you; it’s human nature to do so.
And employers are looking for signs that you are committed to the industry, especially if you are in the relatively early stages of your career in property management. Engagement with ARMA, the IRPM, publications such as this one, will help to show you have a wider interest in the sector.
I’m not really active on social media. Could this count against me?
It depends on job role. If the candidate is expected to be supportive of the company’s own efforts online, then they may prefer to see that you are active on social media, interacting with the right people and organisations.
A half-hearted attempt at keeping an account active may count against you. A LinkedIn profile that is nothing more than a basic online CV won’t do you any favours. A work-based Twitter account that hasn’t tweeted since 2015 may also indicate a lack of commitment!
How can I improve my social media profile?
First and foremost, our advice is to have distinct social media profiles for work and for play. If you want to keep your private life private, restrict publicly available content, use pseudonyms and take care who you accept as a friend or follower. An active ‘work’ social media profile ought to reveal enough of your personality and wider interests.
If you are proud of your hobbies and they show a talented side, use that to your advantage. An Instagram showing off your photography, martial arts or musical abilities will reveal a creative side that may be relevant when writing new proposals, putting together a residents’ handbook or ‘performing’ in front of a group of residents!
Then it’s a case of working on your work profiles to show some regular and meaningful activity. Do you regularly comment on industry news and do your connections support your opinions? Are you connected to some industry leaders and influencers? Are you showing the right level of loyalty to your current employer, e.g. by having your work email address as your principle point of contact or a banner photo with their logo in the corner?
We’ve all visited stunning websites that are let down by poor quality staff photos. LinkedIn is no different, so ask a friend who has a nice camera to take a new profile shot of you in your work gear. Or commission a photographer to do a profession shoot and choose the best one that you can also use for other profiles, events or blogs, all in support of your brand.
Are there any social media taboos?
You may not win or lose out on a job opportunity if your LinkedIn profile is dormant, but an employer may not take an application further if your late-night social life appears that it might encroach on work the next day. Try not to get tagged in a compromising photo!
Many employers want employees that work hard and play hard. They realise that at least half of your waking day is at work and you are more likely to remain for the long term if you are ENJOYING the experience with your colleagues.
“There's no such thing as bad publicity” is widely credited to Phineas T. Barnum, the 19th century American circus owner! But courting controversy online is a risky business. A supplier in our sector posts regular controversial pieces to camera. Whilst his firm may have lost clients and followers as a consequence, he may well have gained new ones who either agree with his opinions or simply because he’s making an effort to promote his business.
If you get to interview stage, the chances are the interviewer will want to get to know you as a person. Your technical ability ought to be a given from your experience and qualifications which would have been evidence from your BBL CV. Having done your research and preparation pre interview, you will have checked out the company’s social media profile and those of its directors/senior management, so social media ‘snooping’ cuts both ways.
There are no absolute rights and wrongs with social media. Think about your personal brand as well as the company’s. What do you want your social media profiles to say to your audience?
To discuss your social media presence and how this can improve your chances of a dream role, give us a call.
Rhys Townsend, Senior Block Management Recruitment Consultant at BBL Property