It’s become common practice that the first thing you do before meeting someone new (whether it be a date, business contact or courtesy meeting) is google the person. In fact, it’s so commonplace in this day and age of the digital footprint, that people will even open a meeting with “so I googled you and found…”.
As an executive search firm and as executive recruiters ourselves, we have seen time and time again the positive (and negative) effects a quick google search can have on our clients and candidates. What you need to be asking yourself is:
1) How searchable am I / is my company?
2) What are my search results conveying about me and my company?
How searchable am I / is my company?
How many times does someone who is hard to find become the bane of your existence, or even worse, seemingly sketchy? If someone/something doesn’t have a digital footprint, they can come across as odd and raise a red flag. It’s an expectation we have in this day and age. Typically, your company hires either an SEO person or outsources to make sure the company is visible to consumers. But it’s just as important that you, personally, are easy to find. Some employers these days are not even bothering to post jobs and instead are going online to find the right candidates. A large percentage of candidates come from our network, but those who don’t, we find online. Especially given the space we recruit for… There’s an expectation (rightfully so) in the media, entertainment, content and information services industries that you understand and can navigate the digital landscape. Make sure you’re demonstrating your digital prowess in your own profiles. Yes, that’s right, even for those in the C-Suite. The times, they are a-changin’.
What are my search results conveying about me and my company?
Be in control of your digital footprint! Search for yourself and see if what comes up matches the public persona you’d like it to convey. Personally, be sure to post articles you’ve written (and maybe even haven’t but that are noteworthy), events you are attending or speaking at and your general expertise as all those things can enhance your personal reputation. You can come across as a thought leader. But just as these things can enhance your reputation, beware that your personal tastes and opinions can also reflect negatively. Even if you have corporate and private accounts, these days everything is searchable. Everything. Personal and public personas are becoming one in the same. When we give a name over to our clients, they google it – accept that as the new norm.
As a senior level executive, it’s also important to make sure the image you are projecting online reflects well on your company and its culture. Potential candidates will not only look up your company, but you as well before an interview. Be consistent with your personal brand and your corporation’s brand. As a company, be conscious of what GlassDoor reviews are saying, because you can be assured that your candidates are looking. And should you have some negative reviews, instead of immediately being defensive, take a look at the merit some of the comments may have – you can rest assured knowing that potential candidates certainly will. See it as an opportunity to address issues head-on and be prepared to field these questions in an interview.