Stalking and Personal Marketing

Or… why I have a website

I thought it might be an idea to write a little bit about my recent experience with recruiting. I haven’t personally done a lot of recruiting so far and I can see why people don’t like it very much. It’s certainly an activity that uses a lot of time and often may not get you the outcome you were after.

Recently, I’ve spent about 6 months recruiting for a position which has 6 months worth of funding. This seems crazy in itself however it did at least give me time to think about different approaches.

One technique is what I like to call…

Stalking People Online

It’s very easy these days. And it’s not really stalking, more like using all of the modern phonebooks to see what you can find.

The main tools of the trade are:

  • LinkedIn
  • A quick Google search
  • Twitter (strangely becomes useful at unexpected times)

The problem is often people have very common names or use different names online. But what about those with almost no online presence? What if you only find a healthy LinkedIn profile but nothing else?

What does it all mean?

If you have a strong presence online, surely that means you are passionate about digital technology?

Does it really matter?

To me, yes, I think it does matter. But…

What do other people think?

Speaking to one of the senior developers at work the other day…

I don’t have a website because I don’t want future employers to look me up and judge me based on what they find.

This guy (who shall remain anonymous in keeping with his plans for minimising his online presence) quoted other friends who had their Facebook accounts stalked by employers, judging with clipboards in hand, as if posting #hashtag #instafood whatever photos has much to do with your professional behaviour…

So then I went on to ask some other people. This is what they said.

I think it’s important because it can showcase your skills in ways that LinkedIn and Facebook cannot.

This is probably more like where I’m coming from.

Another respected colleague had this response:

Oh yeah, I have a website. Haven’t touched it in ages, mainly because I’m so busy now with word-of-mouth referrals I don’t really need a website

Why I have a website (and other things)

A fresh mind is one that’s kept busy

I like to keep my mind fresh by writing about things that interest me.

Dogfooding

It also means as I’m developing Koi CMS then at least I’m dogfooding the system. If I find a problem, it’s because I’ve been using the system in anger myself for my own purposes so I’m intimately aware of how it works in the #realworld. If someone reports a problem, I can easily see where they are coming from because I’m closer to my user base.

Blogging… wait what did “blog” mean again?

I’ve had a blog for a long time. Since 2002 I think. Before that, I had a bunch of poorly built websites dating back to about 1997. I really should pull them out of the archives sometime because they are embarrassing. Anyways, my use of the blog as a tool to keep track of different reviews, topics and discussions that go through my mind at various times seems to be a useful plan. Over time I hope to build up a lot of articles and having my website means at least I have a decent place to put them.

Ultimate control

Being able to control exactly what’s on my website and own all of the copyright (for my original content, that is) for my content is paramount. In a world of shifting sands (it’s like every week there’s some new platform for soapboxery), it’s nice to fall back to the humble static HTML website with a few articles. Simple, fast and lots of control. Of course, it’s not like I’m running my site on my own hardware, but that would mean going against the “serverless” and “no-VPC” movement.

It’s … fun.

As I said before, I’ve been dabbling on the internet and had a website since I got my first dial-up modem at home in about 1997. It’s been through so many different versions of technology - some home-grown CMS’s and other times using open source software. I remember crafting sites by hand, moving quickly onto Netscape Communicator and churning out pretty bad blinking tags. Then there was some brief times with Server-Side Includes (woo finally being able to include a menu!). PHP came along too, but that always felt super-hacky.

Today marks the foray into cloud/serverless/whatever the latest trend is. And keeping up with the latest tech is often difficult if you don’t dabble. Having a website is a lot of fun. You should try it.

So back to recruiting

And in conclusion… the best person may not have a website or an active Twitter account but if they are the right person for the job, then that’s just fine with me.

But I’m still going to have a website to play around on, regardless of what everyone else says.