Having recruited through the dot com boom and now trying to find my way through the world of social HR, I have spent over a decade of my life online. Every year brings new and wonderful ways to leverage the web for recruitment and for enhancing employer and personal brands. With performance management portals that mirror Facebook; social media platforms that woo the right candidates; and a myriad of applicant tracking systems designed to automate sourcing and manage candidate communication campaigns, there’s a lot more to think about now that the world of work has become so much more virtual.
In 2002 LinkedIn was a sea of names and faceless photo fields, few people knew how to upload a photo and those that did were worried about making their image public. I had a picture of a dog sleeping on a beach in the Yucatan, as if to say “I'm here, but no one's going to find me.” Oh, how things have changed.
Personal branding has become commonplace for recruiters and candidates who have learned to harness the power of media to distinguish themselves. Be it as thought leaders, experts, or super humans.
So where am I going with all of this?
My point is that the creation of digital experience lends itself to creating larger than life experiences; but here's the reality check, we work in bricks and mortar, we live in physical bodies and, at this stage in our evolution, we live and interact in a 3-dimesional world...most of us anyway.
So, with the convergence of virtual reality and physical reality, what are we left with? At times I think we're left with people and organizations that create illusions around who and what they are, which can be fun for a while, until the fairy dust settles and you wake up and say "What did I get myself into?”
Authenticity is a hot buzzword now, and I think it’s because people are tired of being disillusioned and sold. The stimulation of social media and digital experience is exhausting and sometimes we just need to come down to earth.
To that end, if you are creating a brand, be it employer or personal or if you are trying to hire or be hired. Keep it real.
Here's 6 Quick Tips to Create an Authentic Digital Experience:
- Be Transparent: Digital and real worlds will eventually overlap, even the Wizard of Oz got caught.
- Brand or Be Branded: Make sure you live up to your digital promises, if you don't, someone will tell the world you didn't, and it could go viral.
- Remember, Employee Brand = Employer Brand: Do your employee stories mirror your employer stories?
- Walk the Talk: If your written word is brazen and bold, people will expect that in person.
- Stop the Impulse: Social media can be reactive so savour, save, and think before you publish.
- Live Your Brand: Share “a day in the life” on Instagram, VideoBio, Flickr, Tumblr, or Pinterest; dare I say, Facebook and YouTube. This way your audience can catch a candid glimpse of the “real” person or “culture” you’re portraying.