Why aren't your potential job candidates or clients calling you back? In the IT Staffing Industry, candidates and clients alike, get 5, 10, 20 calls/emails/messages or more from Recruiters and Salespeople every week. For 25 years in the Sales and Recruiting business, my job literally depended on getting them to call me back rather than calling my competition.
It used to be based solely on how effective I was at leaving a compelling message or email that was unique and differentiated me from the rest of the pack. This was my first impression and I needed to make sure it was solid. But as Social Media has become more integrated with business, the "Profile Pic" has become another determining factor in getting a call back.
Think about it. We all form opinions of people from the very first time we see them. It may seem shallow or superficial, but "it is what it is." Maybe it is human nature, but nevertheless, we all do it. Now go back to that client or candidate that is getting bombarded with voice mails/emails. If you are successful in peaking their interest, they are going to "google" you to see if you are legit. What will they see? Have you ever googled yourself? Try it! What does the image(s) say about you? You may be surprised.
The social media standard in Business is LinkedIn. This is where the profile pic plays the most significant role for Recruiting and Sales. Usually, your LinkedIn profile pic is one of the first images someone will see? What does that photo say about you? Does the client or candidate see someone that they could trust with their career or business challenge? If not, will they call you back?
To get a sense of what I am talk about, try searching for the title, "Recruiter," in LinkedIn and scroll through the images to see what you get. Usually, what you will find is one of the following types of photos:
- No Photo - The first thing I think when I see someone with no photo is, "fake profile." There is a very low probability that people will cal you back if you do not have a photo.
- "Facebook" Photo - Some people treat LinkedIn as Facebook and you will see anything from wedding photos, pictures of their kids, flowers, doppelgängers, etc...even the "look how cool I am in my Jeep" pictures.
- The Selfie - You've seen this before. Sitting in front of the computer or taken with their phone. Either way, it is best to keep selfies on Facebook and Instagram, not LinkedIn.
- The Cropped Photo - This is a group shot, but you crop everyone else out because you like how you look. For example, the photo of you and your buddies at the bar, but you crop them out. There is a hand on your shoulder and your eyes are glazed over because you are drunk, but somehow you think this would make a good profile pic for business.
- The Mug Shot - This is when someone at work has a camera and tells you to stand against the wall and smile. It is a step up from the others, but not the best representation of YOU.
- The Professional Headshot - This is ideal. Yes, there is a cost associated with it. But, you are investing in yourself. Are you worth investing in? This is your "brand." And a professional headshot photographer can help you achieve the look and image that best represents your brand.
If you see the value in getting a professional headshot for your career, brand, etc. there are a few suggestions I have when selecting a photographer:
- View their work. Go to their website to see samples of their Headshot work. Look at their work on other social media platforms and determine if you like what you see. Is the quality of the image what you would want it to be and are they capturing a genuine expression from their clients?
- Read their testimonials, recommendations, referrals from others that have shot with them. What are they saying about them?
- Call or meet with them. It is important to feel comfortable with the photographer. Do they put you at ease and are they able to direct you when you are in front of the camera to capture your unique personality.
- Budget - look at the average cost for a professional headshot in your area and determine how much you are willing to invest in your personal brand. The old adage is usually true, "you get what you pay for."
So take a good look at your digital image, your personal brand, and be honest with yourself. Based on that image, would you call that person back to talk about your career? If there is any question, consider investing in yourself with a professional headshot. It may make a world of difference in your career.