I got a random reply from someone I follow for a few years. She asked me if we can have drinks near her neighborhood. I said sure (just to let you know, this was not a date).
The following week, I carpooled with my brother, who I was staying over the week, ask what my plans were that day and one of them was meeting this person who I follow for a few years. My brother got very uptight that I was meeting this person, face-to-face, for the first time and was worried that she would steal my information for her gain. I said to my brother that if she would, I wouldn’t her talking about politics and random stuff. If it was dating or some other stuff, than sure, but this isn’t the case.
Later in the afternoon, I finally met this woman for the first time. She didn’t recognize me at first and thought I was an employee of the restaurant we went, although I was wearing my cricket shirt. Then I overheard “Birmingham” and knew that was her.
We both had a great chat getting to know one another and our backgrounds. The one thing that strikes from the conversation was this part:
Woman: “Where are your from?”
Me: “Fairfax, VA”
Woman: “Where are your parents from?”
Me: “They live in Fairfax, but they were born and raised in Saigon (Vietnam)”
Woman: “Are you Asian?”
Woman: “Ok, I had no idea you were Asian. I didn’t look at your profile picture, but I follow you because your tweets are funny and seem to be a cool guy.”
For a few seconds, I was perplexed that she didn’t know I was Asian. Even if she didn’t see my profile picture, the last name, Tran, would be a huge hint, but she talked quickly and mention immediately that I was funny and that’s why she followed me. I don’t smile a lot, the reason she gave made me very happy.
I’m bringing this story up because in recruiting, recruiters look for skills, achievements, and company background to see if they’re a fit. What you don’t see some recruiters do is checking out what the conversation is about the industry. Recruiters will talk among themselves about recruiting trends and technology, which is expected, but you rarely hear recruiters talk about the sector they’re on, in depth.
There are two big perceptions people have in HR:
- Most employees view HR as the company’s internal police.
- HR doesn’t know the industry/sector they’re working in.
To some, HR is viewed as the outsider of the company, although they work within the company. How does HR change the perception? Step into the shoes of your co-workers and what they’re dealing with and follow industry conversations on social media and networking. It gives you and your HR department legitimacy within your sector, but most importantly, your own company.
If my woman friend can see me as funny and smart through Twitter without knowing who I look like, sound like, and what I do, HR and recruiters can do the same thing. Sometimes, you have to believe in what they’re doing.