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“It’s About Professional Conduct, Stupid!

Posted on August 26, 2006
Filed Under Banter, Blogging For Talent, Networking, Personal Branding, Professional Conduct | 13 Comments

The Recruiting Animal, said it best today in reference to an entire cottage industry of “personal brand management” companies that will perfect your online image for a price. You can just as easily dilute your personal brand … for free and with little effort by simply opening your proverbial mouth.

Our recruitment blogosphere in its infancy is a daily lesson of cautinary tales when effecting our own personal brands and the recruitment industry itself as a brand. When do our actions sustain it as a workable and beneficial platform and when do personal detractors in their exchanges, be in in posts or comments, compound the act of luring prospective contributors away from its Wild Wild West reputation among outsiders looking in?

A case in point is my new friend, Amitai Givertz. He was deemed a naughty lad you see as the object of his post, and others who happened to have the misfortune of his tongue-in-cheek. Whereas his arguments are substantive as debating points to outsiders of the realm, questions arise as to whether it’s all “Fair Game.”

Amitai and I had many a phone tag session the last 48 hours. Alas, during our virtual introduction, We had a virtual steak at Ruth’s Chris Steak house and several rounds of Mojitos and cigars while exchanging opinions on the meaning and effects of the blogosphere. Amitai provided a preview of a post that pounds the virtual tables on the virtues of “screaming fire in a crowded blogosphere lounge versus Personal Branding.” The results of our dialogue? We initiated a starting point for discussion on professional conduct within the Recruitment Blogosphere. I am looking forward to his next fire stick juggling act at http://recruitomatic.wordpress.com. In the immediate, per his encouragement, I will attempt to develop preliminary considerations as you consider to click “Publish” when posting:

1) The Recruitment Blogosphere is a nascent universe, and care and consideration must be given to the effects of one’s diatribes to its nourishment as a community building exercise. Whereas I do not wish to be misquoted, nor taken out of context, I argue that there is a fine line between Free Speech and lacking professional tact and adhering to its protocols when communicating a sustainableand debatable argument. Belittling, name calling, and downright mean spiritedness are not simply frowned upon for lacking professionalism but as much and more so for scaring off would be contributors that we lose in the community approach to building educational content and analysis.

2) If am known as man or myth, it is for one networking truism I aspire to, in all my actions, and as a mortal when I fail it does not divert from the stated goal: Building and promoting fellow colleagues I deem to be contributors to 21st century recruitment technologies and practices. That being said, I measure my tone and direction on fulfilling in a proactive manner each of the following:

A Does my post, comment, or email detract from building a community, from building partnerships?
B) Do my actions and words invite new adherents to the faith that is Blogging for Talent”?

3) Did I communicate a failing – pertinent to a technology or a practice or in reference to a blog post – in a manner in which I did not first or at last speak of its virtues? Furthermore did I critique in a manner which fairly observed solutions which could add benefit?

4) The origins of the blogosphere and its strengths as displayed in the last presidential election – is in its prowess as a journalistic device, with all the functional components of who, what, where, and when associated with the fact checks we come to expect in democratic discourse. Amitai and I were introduced on the very basis where I faulted his lack of fact check on the issue of promoting the personal branding of others/blog references as virtual endorsements versus original content. Reading my site, Six Degrees from Dave, – after the fact, gave Amitai a pause for reevaluation. As the recruitment blogosphere matures, so do the standards by which we promote and/or critique each subject of the day – we need to do our homework and fact check as if our personal brand depends upon it. It does.

Before anyone references this post as a hypocritical vantage point to some future or former altercation – I emphasize the points made are the ideal, and as a mortal I can apologize in advance when my transgression reveals itself. My one advantage is that I live and breathe the virtue of “Building up my friends and colleagues” as a cause, not simply a practice of convenience, and so long as I subscribe to this one tenent, I can best do unto others as I would prefer unto myself.

Recently, my friends, Harry Joiner and Recruiting Animal both made worthy references to what is at stake from an online Cat Fight – unflattering comments or actions are now being sustained for eternity on Google and/or Zoominfo, etc. as search engines catalogue link and keyword histories.

Googling a person’s name is something that professional recruiters have been doing for years. But the practice has now spread to human resources departments and office managers everywhere.Harry elaborated upon the issue of what (or frankly who) might be out their tarnishing your personal brand and on how you can keep your impeccable reputation untarnished:

Go ahead, Google yourself. Or Yahoo! or MSN Search; whichever search engine satisfies your itch. As most potential employers will probably be doing the same thing, it’s important to find out what information is out there about you, positive or negative. It is well advised to disclose up front that you write for an personal blog or maintain exposure on any other variety of online sites. Harry illustrates this growing phenomenon in Finding Caleb Founds on Jobster.

Amitai is a gentleman. We learned together in our discourse. What I hope I accomplished was this simple fact, we all have a different sense of humor. What we find reason to laugh to in poking fun, has a cost. I reminded him on the fact we work within the confines of a close knit community and yes, whereas I can agree on the importance of standing by your cause celeb, we must remember that today’s personal jab or professional jab, may be forgotten by all except the object of your post/comment and to a greater extent, one risks diminishing the personal brand of another (aka credibility) regardless of whether it was one’s intent to do so. Your blog comment could be deemed the source of economic harm to one’s ability to conduct commerce aka earn a living, and that my friends is a liability you should refrain from at all costs. Waaalaaa! Congratulations! John Doe’s joke or critique was just sharp enough to lose Biff a client that promised an account large enough to buy Tiny Tim that GI Joe with the Gung Fu grip. Words have consequences, not least of which the person who will refuse to shake your hand in front of other esteemed colleagues due to the “misunderstood” quips online. You can defend the post/comment all you wish, the effect, however, is not within your capability to control.

Everyone with a sharp tongue worries about getting on ‘the list.’ In my opinion they should. It will cost you business, blog readers, it will prevent people from hiring you and/or allowing you to represent them as their recruiter of choice. Above all, it will cost you friends worthy of their friendship, and personal respect.

You can stomp your foot on free speech rhetoric, “standing by your opinion” etcetera, but at the end of the day, “It’s about professional Conduct, Stupid!”


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Comments

13 Responses to ““It’s About Professional Conduct, Stupid!”

  1. Recruiting Animal on August 24th, 2006 4:14 pm

    How much do I have to pay to get you to stop using my name? (Amitai charges $75.)

  2. Recruitomatic on August 24th, 2006 5:13 pm

    Dave:

    An interesting post and point of view.

    As you know, I am planning to post on the subject at some length and do not want to bore everybody twice. I’m glad you were able to craft this reply with the benefit of my retracted comment from the Recruiting Animal’s site – we don’t refer to him by name, it’s a branding thing – and our lengthy conversation this morning. Your post here gives me something additional – and substantive – to anchor to. Thank you.

    All that said, I will ask you to consider this:

    I see very little distinction between personal brand and employer brand. Unlike product branding it cannot be controlled it can only be “managed.” Your employment brand and your personal brand exist whether you like it or not. Responding to how you are perceived/branded in the market is key to successful brand management, over time. Also, in this age of instant and unbridled communication online it is incumbent on us all to develop coping as well as marketing strategies. How we respond to events and circumstances beyond our control also adds to the branding of a thing. Or it’s undoing.

    Your points are valid. But there are counterpoints to consider. I will reply on my blog and backtrack here.

    Amitai

  3. Dave Mendoza on August 24th, 2006 5:28 pm

    There is ample to add in discussion points. We are building an evolutionary path on best practices and I do not profess to have THEE answer, but I have contributed today to that discussion and I look forward to reading yours to add the layers I know the industry-at-large will ultimately benefit from. One step at a time my friend.

  4. Amitai Givertz’s Recruitomatic Blog » Blog Archive Who Are You Calling Stupid, Ugly? « on August 25th, 2006 9:05 am

    […] In the meantime, consider what-his-name’s post about professional conduct. It won’t escape anyone’s attention that he-who-has-no-name (and no link you’ll notce) is already deriving value from my personal branding service. Yes, for a paltry $75.00 I can have your name removed from most any participating blog in the network. […]

  5. Karen M on August 25th, 2006 11:25 am

    Great Post Dave and So true..

    Sometimes I wonder when I read some of the things that people write on the wild wonderful world called the internet.. It really makes me scratch my head..

    Remember the great debacle – the ethics debate about a year or so ago. So many would put up an opinion about ethics, and generally not in their favor. Remember posting something about that.. why would a company want to work with someone who says – ethics are personal.. even in business.. Gee, that would scare me..

    After reading this post I wonder how many people will be going out trying to scrub anything with their name?

    Great One!

  6. Recruitomatic on August 25th, 2006 12:29 pm

    Dave – for clarification:

    You reference a “cat fight” in your post. It would be just as well to point out that the cat fight was between you and a “detractor” of yours. It was unrelated to the content or context of my original satirical post. You may have made that point and I just missed it but no one will remember “gentleman.” Everyone will quote “cat fight.”

    Karen – to your point:

    As I shall argue in my reply on Recruitomatic, “After reading this post I wonder how many people will be going out trying to scrub anything with their name?” is an impossibility. Recognizing this fact, my contention is that we should not allow what we think other people might perceive us to be – a perception based on a two dimensional digital portrait – to affect the way that we really are and how we should – or should not –be behaving. This position talks to knowing yourself, trusting in your God – if you are lucky enough to have one – and being prepared to draw on the strength that exists within as being a more sustainable life-source than the artificial, virtual realities that stand testament to confusion, not clarity. With the resilience that comes with resignation to reality-as-it-is-really-really comes a willingness to laugh things off, get on with those things that really do have substance.

    Karen, I know you love a debate. I will not reply if you choose to comment to my point but I will somehow answer your questions – if you have any – in my upcoming post.

    Amitai

  7. Shannon Seery on August 26th, 2006 9:20 am

    Hi Dave. Very nice to speak with you the other night!

    When it comes to the issue of ‘professionalism’ in the blogoshpere – I think there is a line that as fellow bloggers we should try not to cross.

    The beauty of the blogosphere is that we can explore different points of view and share our own. Sometimes that means that we all get along and pat each other’s back; loving the blogosphere – but other times that might mean that we get called on the carpet. This feedback loop is actually what I grow from the most. I value when a commenter or fellow blogger calls it as they see it, forcing me to consider a different POV.

    As for professional brand management – in my view you can’t damage your ‘brand’ as long as you have a valid point and aren’t just being condescending or rude because you have the floor and you can be. If the blogosphere only gets used as a ‘business’ social networking tool – then we are forced to always edit any REAL content out so that we don’t run the risk of possibly hurting a connection (you never know in this 2D space when something will get taken the wrong way or when someone won’t appreciate your humor). Does this mean that we need to edit our content in such a way as to ensure that everyone GETS it and it is ‘business-like’? I hope not – the blogosphere was supposed to cut through the PR and marketing BS. I am afraid that we will lose some of the blogosphere’s flavor if we force those practices.

    At the end of the day – I think that we show the MOST respect for people when we are HONEST. If you can make your points, like my friend Amitai can, WITH FLARE – then this POV exchange becomes an even more rich experience.

    Good conversation! Thanks 😉

  8. Karen M on August 26th, 2006 12:30 pm

    I look forward to seeing the blog Ami..
    for all who may not know, means Friend in French..

    What a cool name..

    Karen

  9. Dave Mendoza on August 26th, 2006 12:53 pm

    Essentially no one has disagreed with the core of the argument proposed. Whereas that at least means or moral and professional guidance systems are aligned we remain adrift on the standards for consideration.

    The ideal would be if my fellow peers would add their own suggestions to the numbered points provided within my post or amend or delete per their suggestions. In the end, I hope we find common ground so that we may all prosper with an established set of guidelines for consideration.

    What, pre tal, is the line to be crossed? With such a distinguished group joining me for another round of virtual mohito’s I see endless possibilities.

    Moses bring me tablet’s and some engraving tools!

  10. The Naked Blogger « Amitai Givertz’s Recruitomatic Blog on August 28th, 2006 12:56 pm

    […] 4. I sent Desi a copy of a retracted comment – withdrawn because I refuse to participate in the Recruiting Animal’s horrid revisionism, confusion – and suggested if he wanted to draw his own post from it, I would reply in my missive today. In It’s About Professional Conduct, Stupid! with the clever use of oxymoronic titling to give the post an erudite flavor a la Recruitomatique, Desi sets out his personal view of what recruitment blogging should be. It also reflects some of what we had discussed on the telephone and encapsulates the advice he gave to me on how to conduct myself, professionally. […]

  11. Abe Ramos on August 28th, 2006 5:35 pm

    “Do to others as you would have them do unto to you” and “He with the gold, rules” both apply in relation to the Golden Rule. Choose wisely.

  12. Amitai Givertz’s Recruitomatic Blog · The Naked Blogger on November 26th, 2006 11:09 pm

    […] 4. I sent Desi a copy of a retracted comment – withdrawn because I refuse to participate in the Recruiting Animal’s horrid revisionism, confusion – and suggested if he wanted to draw his own post from it, I would reply in my missive today. In It’s About Professional Conduct, Stupid! – with the clever use of oxymoronic titling to give the post an erudite flavor a la Recruitomatique – Desi sets out his personal view of what recruitment blogging should be, most of which I agree with. It also reflects some of what we had discussed on the telephone and encapsulates the advice he gave to me on how to conduct myself, professionally. […]

  13. Elinda Hagan, RN, BSN on September 19th, 2010 11:18 pm

    Although this post is a bit dated, professional conduct should be observed at all times during this blogging process. I did Google myself. My comments to previous blogs was what I found. So, if a future employer wants to Google me, everything I have been involved in online will show up. We must all be on our best professional behavior.