A few days ago, I decided to upgrade my cable and wi-fi package. The technicians were (surprisingly) on time and I led them to my home office, for them to begin the installation process.  Now the first, was very respectful, professional and understood basic decorum in dealing with customers, the other…well… he was boorish, a bit forceful and worse of all, his cries from the roof to the other technician were louder than this guy’s. When they were about done, I enquired to the more refined of the two about the training his teammate received before engaging with customers. He let me know that while there have been complaints, he didn’t report them to his superiors in an effort to preserve his colleague’s job.

This phenomena is nothing new. Many employers do the same. We call them for a recommendation for a prospective applicant and hear 5 star reviews that rival the finest bistro in Paris. And in fine fashion, once they’re hired they underperform. Worse even, many are like a virus spreading their lethargy and bad habits among the rest of human flesh inhabiting your place of business. This is one of the fundamental problems with tradition recruitment tools, they rely on orchestrated acts such as an interview and a resume to see if someone is suited for a respective post, but deny who they really are as a person. Now while these methods cannot be entirely discounted, the old, “we have always done things this way” should not be levied either.

I am a firm believer that we speak, act, like, share and post based on what we believe at our core. Our innermost selves. Status updates are more attitude and aptitude updates in my book. I believe that as recruiters become even more digitally driven, they will begin to rely more on the observation of potential candidates to see if they have, in some instances, the skill-sets, and in all instances, the mind-sets needed for respective positions. Sheets of paper perfectly embellishing skill-sets will fall asunder.

Why? Because by perusing their social channels, you can observe how prospects react to disagreement (assessing their conflict resolution and tolerance levels), we will see the types of content they share, is it all cat videos, or is there some technical insight into their respective fields being shared. We can see which networks they ‘play’ on. As we become more conscious of the framing ability of social media that we can literally tell people what we are and they will believe us(of course only if it is backed up through authentic and consistent action). It is imperative that we recognize that our social channels will be viewed as extensions of mind maps. Ensure you aren’t leading employers south when you reside comfortably in the north.

89% of all recruiters report having hired someone through LinkedIn.

Facebook and Twitter trailed by a wide margin, reaching only 26% and 15% respectively. (Source: Herd Wisdom).

Of course there must be some telling of the academic tale, the schools you attended, employment history, and the experience you have, especially for specialized fields such as medicine. I mean, I don’t care how many pictures, videos and articles on open heart surgery you post, you won’t see me strolling into your practice if you don’t possess an MD. However, if you say you are a writer or a graphic designer, your blog and portfolio (which should be linked to Facebook); the articles you share and advice you give, may yield valuable insight. Fittingly, one of LinkedIn’s functions is that it is also a digital resume and recommendation hub, accessible 24 hours a day, and open for all eyes to see. This is important as people are less likely to lie or seriously embellish, when they know that those who actually know them can openly see their claim to be a molecular botanist, and vividly remember them failing 8th grade biology. Endorsements will soon equate to how well you did your job. If no one recommends you for that skill, how can you say you possess it.

With all the dialogue raging about fake identities and the need for sureties when doing business and conversing online, I predict academic qualifications on this platform will have a simple “verified” function where after you graduate, your qualifications will be updated to your profile by your school, linked to a copy of your grades etc, certificates, even digital courses, complete with comments from the Facilitator. The same goes for voluntary service, merits, and the like. While expensive to implement, it would make life much easier, and transparent if LinkedIn continues as the leader in professional social networking platforms.

However, this digital qualification list must be used in tandem with other social sites that we don’t curate specifically for the purpose of netting a nice cushy position. Facebook and Twitter, Medium and others must also be a part of the digital identity curation process.

Therefore, the onus is on each and every one of us to curate our personal brands as we would fine art. Our actions are the brushstrokes. Will your painting be a Picasso or a Emshefield…i’m guessing you don’t recognize that last name, well that’s because I made it up. The point is create a digital identity that exummes value. Set yourself apart, walk the walk but also, talk (post) the talk. Understand that the greatest resume you could produce is the content you share, and the thoughts you decide to post to pass the time on a train or bus ride.

The things we post are windows into our minds. Our digital identities are in many ways deemed inseparable from their physical counterparts. I saw an advertisement this week that I found interesting it said, “Do you have what it takes to work in social media, don’t tell us. Show us.” I think it is a perspective that we will see more of in the coming years. The things we say matter and tell the world something about us. Those with good stories, will win.