The New Hiring Bar Surprisingly Few People Are Reaching

I’m having drinks with a friend. She runs a sales team for a mid-size company, and she’s sharing her frustration with finding impressive talent. She’s hiring and she’s lamenting about how difficult it is to find quality candidates.

Out of curiosity and because it’s what I do, I can’t help but ask her to tell me why she finds it so difficult.

She takes a sip of water, puts the glass on the table and starts describing her process. She says it starts with her recruiters sourcing the web, primarily LinkedIn and this is where the conversation is most interesting and you want to pay close attention. The rest of her story has no bearing or value to you, but it’s the very first part of her sales process that inspired me to write this post. It’s proof of a metamorphosis that is happening right now, that is affecting all of us, and if you’re not paying attention it will cost you. Amelia shares with me that she’s told her recruiters she will NOT meet with anyone who doesn’t have picture on their LinkedIn profile, or whose picture is not professional. Yup, you heard that correctly. NO picture no interest. A poor picture, not interested. If you look creepy or stupid, if your picture makes her uncomfortable, she’s not giving you a shot. But, that’s not it. In addition, Amelia said she won’t’ meet with anyone who doesn’t have at least 500 connections. Her logic, if they are a good sales person, they know how to use LinkedIn, and had better have built a network of at least 500 people. If not, she argues, they aren’t good sales people and aren’t worth reviewing. (To back up Amelia, A Sales Guy Recruiting also has clients who won’t see people without a picture.)

I hope you’re paying close to this. This information may be a disturbing truth bomb to some of you, but it’s real.

500 connections and a Picture

The Internet and social media are changing the way people are evaluated for jobs and if you haven’t adapted, you’re fucked. Fight it all you want, but it will do you no good. The world has changed, the industrial age is over. We’re now in the information age. No one does anything without going to Google first. No one does anything without information and if the information on you is bad, or worse non-existent, you don’t matter.

In 2011, (almost 4 years ago to this day), I predicted that the most valuable asset you could own would be your online presence. That was four years ago and this prediction is quickly coming to fruition. People want information, and if they don’t like what they see or if they can’t find anything, they move on. They make no investment in anything or anyone they can’t learn about before they engage.

500 connections and a picture are a low bar, yet it’s a bar too many people have yet to get over and it costs them tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

My friend won’t engage with you if you don’t have 500 connections and a profile picture that doesn’t creep her out. This is just the beginning. The bar is only going to be raised from here. We’re going to demand more and more from candidates, from those we’re looking to hire before we invest in getting to know them. Like companies, we’re going to want to see their work. We’re going to want to know who they know. We’re going to want to see their accomplishments. We’re going to demand a lot more information than we do today. Why? Because we’re in the information age, remember.

Consider this post a warning. Today it’s 500 connections and picture. Tomorrow it’s going to be a whole lot more. Will you be able to compete?