One of my clients is currently recruiting for a position in which it is hard to find qualified candidates. The other day I was assisting them with sourcing candidates by going through LinkedIn. I was searching for potential candidates that have the necessary skills or show potential for growth. What I encountered instead was eye opening.
As I searched I came across familiar faces from organizations I currently work for or have in the past. On their LinkedIn profiles they show that they work for my clients. Only problem is…they don’t. A number of them I knew had resigned from the organization while for others I had been a part of the termination. In fact a couple of them were terminated for just cause.
Two thoughts popped into my mind. The first was, is there anything my clients can do to stop these individuals from representing themselves as still working for a former employer. They could contact the person and ask them to change their profile, although in some cases the employer does not want to have any direct communication with the person. I’m sure there is a legal route that my clients could take but I wonder about the cost benefit of doing that.
The other thought that entered my consciousness was wondering how many profiles I have out in cyber world that are out of date and incorrect. With the onslaught of opportunities to sign up, register, logon, enter to win, click here, we are constantly setting up accounts and profiles. As well, the business and social networking sites are regularly becoming outdated when a newer better one takes over (remember MySpace?). I don’t know about you but I rarely remember to remove myself from one site before moving on to the latest and greatest.
The realization came to me that I am unconsciously leaving behind a cyber footprint; in the digital age it is going to become the profile of me that is shown to the world. Is it how I want the world to see me? Maybe, maybe not - but to be honest I have no idea what I left behind.
I am regularly telling my teenage daughter to be careful what she posts as it will be online forever and follow her throughout her life, yet I seem to have forgotten that myself. My guess is the former employees I encountered have too. They have likely moved on to something new and forgotten all about the LinkedIn profile they set-up five years ago.
In the future I am going to be far more mindful of the footprint I am leaving behind. It will likely still be floating around in cyberspace long after I am gone. Better make sure it looks good!