On any day, professional networking platform LinkedIn overflows with advice on career changes, cracking interviews and, of course, salary negotiations. But the advice may not always be sound. The pursuit of likes and the thirst to go viral can sometimes lead some so-called ‘Career guides’ to dish out impractical counsel.
For instance, the so-called ‘LinkedIn Gurus’ encourage professionals to maximise their use of social media and share everything they can about a company and its culture. This may backfire eventually, and lead to people being fired. Similarly, the ‘workaholics mean success’ idea is another nuisance doing the rounds.
As people flock to social media platforms to accumulate career-related knowledge, Moneycontrol looks at the unrealistic advice on hiring decisions that abounds on these platforms and explains why you should steer clear.
The worst: salary negotiation advice
Amit Sharma, HR leader at a multinational conglomerate, says salary negotiation advice on social media platforms is terrible, and often causes individuals to lose out on offers. “A lot of the Indian creators copy-paste material from western influencers or books.”
He says the advice to not share your salary with a recruiter is counter-productive for most individuals, and cites an example. Recently an acquaintance of his was recruiting for an admin role, and had shortlisted a candidate. During the interview the candidate steadfastly refused to disclose his current salary. “The recruiter therefore put him on stand-by as there were hundreds of candidates in the pipeline,” said Sharma, adding, “The role required generic skills and was filled in the first three interviews.”
The candidate may not even have been aware that an influencer’s advice had just cost him a job.
It might make sense to follow that advice if you are an industry stalwart or have niche skills in Data Science etc, says Sharma. But the reality is that almost all companies base offers on the current salary.
Sharma has been approached to write promotional posts on LinkedIn, with each post fetching him Rs 5,000 as an influencer with 10,000 followers.
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“LinkedIn is filled with 20-year-olds explaining how to create culture and authentic leadership, which is like my toddler guiding me on selecting the right wine,” he says.
The HR leader observed that many LinkedIn Gurus are not success stories in their own Corporate careers. “While that is not a criterion for wisdom, I believe it is a safe bet taking career advice from individuals who have walked on and aced your aspired path.”
Flogging products as advice
There were 467 million social media users in India in January and these platforms have become a popular place for fake advice just to promote and sell some products/brand(s).
“They commonly create Facebook pages and LinkedIn profiles to advertise themselves. This also includes real accounts as well, using their accounts to advertise,” says Anand Dewan, Group CEO at HR firm BYLD Group.
Dipti Saxena (name changed) can attest to this. She read a few articles on how Applicant Tracking System or ATS is very important. But even after implementing the suggestions she did not succeed in securing job interviews.
“Eventually I noticed most of the posts/articles I read were somehow linked to ATS and resume writing companies,” she says. ATS is a software used by HR teams to screen applications using predefined job requirements such as experience, skills and certification.
“They (companies) somehow manage to convince people to avail their service,” Saxena says.
Should CVs only be one page long?
Advice like 'your CV should only be one page long’, or 'think of all job interviews as practice’ is not valid anymore and should be taken with a pinch of salt, says Deepika Bora, Co-Founder & Head of Hiring at Bridgentech Consulting.
Firstly, she feels that if you are very senior and well-established in your profession, a one-page resume is acceptable. However, she adds that the majority will require more than a page to describe their career journeys. “A two-page résumé is often sufficient, while three pages are also allowable under certain circumstances.”
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Secondly, Bora says there is nothing wrong with attending the interview if you are “on the fence” about a job in order to learn more. “You could get a pleasant surprise.”
However, she suggests you decline the interview if you are sure that you won’t accept the position. “It is unethical to use interviews as practice; the interviewer will be able to tell.”
Bora recommends following inputs and suggestions from established leaders in your field or domain. “Everyone has suggestions but a true mentor is someone who has gone along a path similar to yours.”
Further, a candidate should always keep a realistic idea of himself/herself and move forward with that irrespective of what “Career Gurus” say, she adds.
Stay away from fiction
Fictional stories have become ways for people to gain followers, observes Kapil Sharma, CEO at tech firm FiveS Digital.
“These people will ask you to write an arrogant note to the hiring manager if you don’t get a response. Or, recommend you seek an offer that is way too high considering the standards.”
Here, Sharma says to look for people who are your seniors from school or college. “They are more likely to have an affinity for you and would share their experiences.”
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To stay away from impractical advice, Dr Ramani Ganesh, SVP – Human Resources at recruitment firm Hirect India, says users should carefully curate their feed and keep a close eye on who they follow and allow into their feed.
“Having a feed populated with informed opinions and expert advice will give people a competitive advantage over others,” she says.
Echoing Ganesh, Harsh Bharwani, CEO and MD of Jetking Infotrain, a computer networking institute, believes candidates should make an effort to find the right connections. “If you are a software developer and your connection list is full of people who are nowhere related to your field, I think you are wasting your time on LinkedIn.”
Once you are connected with the right people, ensure you have active conversations with them and share your thoughts or clear your doubts, either in (responses to) their posts or personally, he adds.