Literal Thinking

Real stories of workplace follies

Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Misuse of social media

Posted by A Friend on 17 January 2009

Rajesh Setty recently posted on the Tom Peters blog where he listed nine points about what a “Personal Brand” is not. Point three piqued our interest the most:

It’s not your presence in the social media. Yes, social media can amplify your personal brand, but the presence itself cannot be a substitute for a personal brand….It is also NOT how “popular” you are in the social media.

We found the above especially true when we recently interviewed a person, who is also a very active “social media butterfly” in our region, for a senior project position.

This person’s resume pointed to his own personal website, a personal blog, and a LinkedIn profile. His LinkedIn profile indicated 500+ connections (the maximum number of connections LinkedIn shows), and over 20 recommendations.

Now we must confess that we are a very late social media adopter (we only discovered Facebook and LinkedIn last year), so this person’s LinkedIn profile especially impressed us, so much so that we decided to skip an initial interview and go straight to a panel – the final selection stage.

We found the interview a complete waste of our time. We emailed this person a brief of the position at least three days before the interview, yet it was very clear from the way he answered the questions that he was not prepared.

And not only was he unprepared, he was totally unqualified: he did not understand some of the most basic concepts we expected he would know and be ready to answer even if he walked into the interview with a massive hangover.

Plus, when we asked him to quote his rates (we ask this regardless of whether we want the applicant, as we keep applicant records on file in case future requirements come up), he was quoting significantly below market rates for the position we considered him for.

We concluded that his resume, and most especially his LinkedIn profile, was a total misrepresentation of his capability. What amused us was he still invited us to “Link In” even after he was rejected.

But the above story is fairly minor compared to what Vincent Wright (a well recognized name in social media circles, including LinkedIn) shared in his networking forum last month about his personal experience of someone who was using LinkedIn deceptively.

The gist of the story is Vincent had an invitation from one “Bob Smith” to connect. Shortly after getting connected, “Bob”, a recruiter, started asking Vincent for recruitment requirements. Vincent rang “Bob”, “Bob” tried very hard to sound like a “Bob”, but Vincent became suspicious of the way he sounded, so he asked him whether his real name was indeed Bob Smith. “Bob” said his real name was “Raj”.

Vincent provided more information about this Bob Smith in the link above than we have here – enough to allow us to actually find his LinkedIn profile. This Bob Smith has 500+ connections and five recommendations. All five of his connections were from co-workers, and all sounded suspiciously contrived.

Going back to Setty’s post on the Tom Peters blog, point two stated that your personal brand is not an extension of your employer’s brand. We agree. But based on the above situation, we also say that your personal brand can be so powerful that it can enhance or tarnish your employer’s brand.

We would never entertain thoughts of doing business with Bob or Raj’s employer.


Posted in Case Studies, Social Media | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »