PJ Neumann (@Neumania513), a Finance major at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, conducted this interview with me for his Business Technologies course by way of facebook chat.
PJ Neumann: Thank you for taking time out of your day to do this for me and my education. For whom do you work and what is your job title?
Jason Lee Overbey: I am an independent contractor. I consult for a recruiting firm name sourcing talent for open positions. I also consult with businesses on their SM projects and sometimes their credit and collections projects.
Pj Neumann: I see. How long have you been employed in this discipline?
Jason Lee Overbey: About 1.5 years for sourcing. I just jumped on social media work - there is a real need for small businesses who have not yet jumped in or need help with it. I have 14 years now in credit, collections and accounts receivable work.
Pj Neumann: Is the utilization of Social Media an effective way, for an individual seeking employment, to network?
Jason Lee Overbey: Not just effective; today it is necessary. Most all quality, experienced recruiters now have a heavy presence on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and now Google+. Not to mention the ancillary platforms.
Pj Neumann: Ah. Took the next question right out of my mouth (fingers?). Of the SM tools listed, which would you say is the most effective?
Jason Lee Overbey: Depends on what you are measuring, your aim. I have to list Linkedin and Twitter. Linkedin is the obvious answer but recruiters and career “gurus” chat all day long on Twitter.
Pj Neumann: I heard that linkedin is great for individuals with experience in the field they are currently employed in, but what about college grads with basic work experience and skills?
Jason Lee Overbey: Every college student should ALREADY be on Linkedin. There, they can post the word “seeking” in their title along with their target job. They can then be found by recruiters, companies and similar people in the field to build a network BEFORE they need to use it. Get started now.
Pj Neumann: That is news to me. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Jason Lee Overbey: (1) It allows the student to build a network before they need to use it. (2) Linkedin allows you to join up to 50 Groups. There, you can connect with “thought leaders” in the industry, other students, and recruiters. (3) This gets your name established as someone studying in the field of your interest. You’ll get a… presence in that niche. (4) When the student graduates they will have a great network already established; and (5) they will have real time access to professionals in the field with whom they can interact and ask questions about trends in their industry. Ultimately, they will have contacts they can draw on for work.
Pj Neumann: My question was more toward why all of this is news to me. I am nearing my 4th year in college and I was unaware of the benefits of Social Media!
Jason Lee Overbey: AH! Yes… colleges are behind the times for some reason and recruiters and career guides bemoan this fact on Twitter daily. I am not sure why but i do know that colleges are dropping the ball here. Perhaps it is the traditional mindset. But I hear this a lot. Almost every college student that has approached me in the last 6 months has bad information or none at all about Social Media.
Pj Neumann: The types of questions that enter my mind about SM include: 1. how do I portray or brand myself using SM tools; 2. do I create a “fun” account and a “professional” account for each tool; 3. how much do I let individual’s see; 4. is my personal info to reflect my resume and skill set; etc. All of these questions have dominated my thoughts for the past 6 months and I seek clarification.
Jason Lee Overbey: 1- Social media is just an extension of a “brand” (and people are growing tired of that word but what should we use until a better language develops?) that should be established in traditional methods as well. Have a clear, written mission of what you want to accomplish to guide you. The second part of that is consistency - have your message and facts about you be the same across all SM platforms. The third part is be accessible - on all of those platforms. Let the reader know how to reach you further and make that easy.
The MOST IMPORTANT part is to ENGAGE. Do not just be a broadcaster or a “preacher” on SM. Respond to people, comment, repost other people’s work, ENGAGE!
2 - When you write out your mission from part one you will have the answer to this question. Clearly, if you have a professional aim in your branding then you are not going to use your SM platforms to post the more lewd side of your life. So, yes, many people have multiple accounts. Having said that, you have to be human in your professional posts and humor goes a very long way in attracting and keeping people engaged with you.
3- This question comes up every week. The advice I always hear is don’t post anything that you would be uncomfortable having posted on a billboard in your home neighborhood. More and more though (thinking about Google+ and the new facebook timeline rolling out) people are going to be able to choose who exactly see what posts.
4- Personal bios should reflect the written mission you came up with in answer 1. If that mission is to feed hungry children then the bio should reflect that, if it is to find a job in the medical profession it should reflect related schooling, accomplishments, desired company maybe. And you can always add a quick funny one-liner or quote. Anything that appears forced, plastic or computer generated is going to be passed over. It needs to be perky, alive and reflecting a real person behind the bio/avatar.
Pj Neumann: All of this is very useful information but how do students on limited budgets receive consulting on these topics if they are not getting it on campus?
Jason Lee Overbey: Twitter is saturated with SM enthusiasts and career guides who love to help college students. Right now it seems that the colleges are not bringing in SM leaders so the students have to go to them…. I always point people to tweetchat.com. There they can put in hashtags surrounding keywords of their interests. For example: #recruiter. Then, start following a bunch of them. But more than that, reply to a few of their tweets, read the links to their blogs and comment there and then ask to connect on Linkedin. They almost always do. You can then reach out and ask questions. Most recruiters have lists they keep on twitter. For instance, here is a list of 497 companies that recruit candidates on Twitter alone: http://twitter.com/#!/JobHuntOrg/employers-recruiting. (via @JobHuntOrg) You will hear different things about their effectiveness but that is another conversation left to the recruiters to fight out.
Jason Lee Overbey: That is a lot of twitter accounts to start connecting with. The person tweeting from those 500 accounts is mostly the corporate recruiter. BAM you are in! They LOVE to talk.
Pj Neumann: Thank you! If a student was to approach you and ask what it would cost for them to have all 4 SM accounts setup and basic coaching associated with each, how much would you charge them?
Jason Lee Overbey: PRICING wow…okay! Well right now I see “experts” (and there is no such thing because SM changes each week) but they are charging $50-$300 per hour. I charge BUSINESSES $27-$35 an hour and up. STUDENTS: I usually help for free if I know them but $75 bucks for 2-3 hours and then 90 days of access to me by phone/web. This shows them the main 6 SM sites, analytic sites and 3rd party apps. Who to connect with. And, a lot of questions come up in the first few weeks - a lot. I will retweet them on my account and stay available to them.
Pj Neumann: That is very reasonable. The 90 day phone access is worth the money alone!
Jason Lee Overbey: It is! A lot of issues come up and it takes 3 months to build a foundation. Only celebrities get overnight success. And that is suspect. The main way to look at this is as a guide. I have been down the path and know where the snares and toils are and can point people away from them and toward a smoother trek. That’s really all a SM consultant can do: guide.
Pj Neumann: What types of “success rates” do you see? Employment within 90 days of graduation of students using SM versus students not using SM?
Jason Lee Overbey: There is a chat every Friday on twitter called HireFriday - #HFChat - that boasts thousands of participants. We hear a lot of success stories there and in other places the #HFChat conversation takes place (start with http://www.hirefriday.com). Some numbers I hear thrown around right now are 6-9+ months to get a job today…. 4-7 if you are on SM. But I am just throwing out what I have heard. Who knows. The question is does SM help? It most assuredly does because it is networking. The key factor is the quality of one’s network. Anyone can be on SM but are they ENGAGING and networking? All of this must be followed up by getting on the phone.
Pj Neumann: Absolutely. Of course, the discipline is a factor as well. I would imagine that business people are seeing higher successes than teachers.
Jason Lee Overbey: Oh, of course. I do know some professors actively using SM and they have been asked for more speaking engagements. If you look at the marketplace today…. if you don’t have the little “in”, the “t” or the “fb”, etc. after your product or brand it will viscerally delegitimize you in the “consumer’s” eye. Whether or not they click for more is unclear. But a product has to have the SM platform available. That is the same with your product, as a student, too.
Jason Lee Overbey: Even if they don’t follow or “like” you - they need to know you are there. This goes for blogging too, it needs to be showcased on your blog site.
Pj Neumann: SM is just a part of life, today. It really seems so time consuming. How many hours a day do you suggest individuals use SM?
Jason Lee Overbey: Who can say, really! I would guess students need an hour a day - and that can be split up 20 min in the am, afternoon and at night. That way you hit all the primetimes. Also, there are a lot more schedulers out there so you can post tweets, status updates, blog posts, links for whatever time you want then go to bed. But, you have to still jump on to engage. That is where the goods are - in hooking someone into conversation with you - whatever that looks like.
Jason Lee Overbey: It really depends on your mission again. Recruiters need more time on SM than a doctor would but BOTH need to be on there. A first year college student is going to have different goals/needs than the graduating one. And as social media evolves so will the requirements. But it all leads us back to the phone!
Pj Neumann: Well, I appreciate you taking time out of your busy day for this interview. I have become aware that my life is lacking effective SM skills. I think employing your services would behoove me.
Jason Lee Overbey: I would be glad to work with you. We will really cover a lot more. And I love the word, “behoove”.
Pj Neumann: How does your schedule look for…
What are your friends in university saying about how much they are being taught and hearing about social media?
Find me on Twitter: @HeyOverbey