The Gods Must Be Crazy or Maybe I Am

At Reputation.com you can pay the company to ‘manage’ your online reputation. Hmmm. This strikes me as very odd. Now I realize that there can be circumstances when a person may need to have some help in “fixing” things online. Everything from an old school photo to an errant rant might need to be managed.

But as a rule, the idea of paying someone to change, improve or alter your digital reputation or “digital footprint” sounds crazy to me.

I know a lot of people don’t like Google but the reality is that Google’s search algorithms (their own self interest notwithstanding) are designed to give real people who are creating real content the best chance possible of being found by other real people.

Before I came across this article,  A Primer on Online Reputation Management, I didn’t even know these companies existed. While I appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit, I question whether this is a viable alternative for 99% of the population.  Here is one of the tactics employed by such organizations; they “include things like “astroturfing,” or the creation of anonymous commenter accounts to buttress a positive piece of content or lash out against a negative one.” Another tactic is to “sneak a client’s name into a site with a lot of rank with Google, such as IMDB.com.”

The whole point of a reputation is that it be a true reflection of who you are. Trust is built by being consistent and ethical. What many of us love about ‘social’ networking/media/business/commerce is the transparency. You can manage your own online presence by paying attention, reading and commenting on blogs, posting to Linked In and so forth. For heaven’s sake be genuine because if you get exposed as a fraud– you WILL need to pay someone to help you get rid of that and good luck doing so!

Photo credit: sarahmelnychuk.blogspot.com

Ugly People Need Not Apply

Previously we talked about not judging people by their looks in networking. The one person whose style or approach seems unappealing -  maybe the one who can help you the most. You know the saying about minds and parachutes… they work best when they’re open.

Now research is throwing a monkey wrench into our long held belief about attractiveness and employability. In, “Are Good Looking People More Employable?” the study showed that “attractive” women actually got fewer responses when they submitted a resume + photo through Human Resources than women with no pictures or whose photo showed them as “plain.” Further complicating matters, “attractive” males got more responses when submitting a resume + photo.

Whether the study results reflect what happens in real business, I don’t know. But what I can say is that hiring is a complicated, human process. So if you’ve been unemployed for a while or find yourself thinking about looking for a new job; take heart. Control is an illusion and all we can do is work to increase our chances of moving on. How?

By being great “employee” material. Have integrity, be kind, enjoy working hard and embrace a challenge. How do you think Marilyn got so famous?

Google Interview Question: “How Many Basketball[s] Can You Fit in This Room?”

In the only question you need to ask in an interview we talked about asking questions. Now I’m encouraging you to think about how you answer questions and talk with your interviewer.  And I do mean talking with them.

In 25 Oddball Interview Questions, the author lists interesting interview questions from companies like Google, Goldman Sachs, AT&T, Facebook and Amazon.  These interviewers learned a lot from the responses to these off the wall queries.

You might think, no one is ever going to ask me, “How many traffic lights are in Manhattan?”, but if you get asked an oddball question; will you be prepared with a creative answer? More than ever, organizations need people who can be flexible and think differently about problems.

If you’re hiring manager and had, say,  3 candidates all of whom were equally qualified – how would you figure out which one to hire? You might try asking one of these questions to see how creative and spontaneous the interviewee can be.

So, how would you answer: “How many basketballs can you fit in this room?” Here are a few answers:

  • Probably the same number of soccer balls
  • One. You didn’t ask what is the maximum number of basketballs you can fit in the room
  • Measure the room in basketballs. The room is 16 basketballs (length) by 12 basketballs (width) by 9 basketballs (height). Then it’s just a simple volume multiplication.

My answer would have been, “Why do we want to bring basketballs into this room? Hmmm, what does that tell you about me?

Photo credit S-Fun.com (Solid Fun)

They Call It “Social” Media for a Reason

I’m tired of hearing people say they don’t want to use social media because they don’t want to know every detail of someone else’s life. Well, if this were true, celebrity magazines wouldn’t exist; neither would soap operas or the 21st century version, reality TV.

So I thought I gently remind everyone that it’s precisely life’s details that make it interesting.

I was talking to someone about networking and how much I dislike showing up at a event  to make small talk with strangers. Interestingly though, conversing via twitter, blogs, face book and other networks can actually be fun. I have met some wonderful people this way.

And, by the way, you can crab all you want about having to ‘learn’ new things and ‘use the computer to connect’ and engage but the fact is that this train has left the station. You can have fun, learn and look for what’s good in the new world of social networking or not. But please, spare me your tales of not caring, not getting it and not wanting to be bothered. Boy I’m crabby in the new year. I promise I’ll be better by my next post.