Social Media Schizophrenia and You!

Always be yourself Unless you can be a pirate Then always be a pirateLike all social media platforms for many people it offers them the ability to be someone different. To perhaps portray themselves in a more favourable light, be braver, bolder, or just pretend to be someone else entirely. How true is this of LinkedIn? Have we all checked out a current or former colleague or friends LinkedIn profile and laughed out loud at the absurdity of the on-line presence and the person you actually know? Does it matter that they are so vastly different?

Here are some of my thoughts.

The Sociopath

How do we really know that the nice sweet guy who congratulates everyone for every post and agrees with every point of view raised is actually really a nice sweet guy? The fact is we don’t. He may be some kind of sociopath who is just playing a control game, or he may just be pretending to be a very likeable person so that we will do business with him. He may actually be many things in real life that would make us run a mile. He may have hundreds of personality traits and opinions that would make our stomachs churn. He may just be an illusion in many ways.

He may even be a pirate (Mitch Sullivan)!

The Fraud

Across Social Media there are literally thousands of examples of people pretending to be things they are not. This ranges from views expressed by people playing devil’s advocate to the more concerning aspects such as people actually lying about achievements and / or their career. If you do a search for a certain group of professionals for example literally hundreds of them have profile photos emedded into backdrops of CNN, Forbes, Washington Post. This is accompanied on their profiles with claims indicating that they have worked for, been interviewed by or as seen in / on CNN, Forbes, Washington Post and so forth. It looks very credible. What it doesn’t tell you however is that they paid a premium price for an article to be featured on-line and now claim to be a thought leader using that as their provenance. Is this misleading? Yes I think it is.

The Self Aggrandiser

Then we come onto job titles and achievements. I see thousands of CEO’s and Managing Directors of organisations that basically don’t exist. They have no website and no employees. Is this wrong, is this a misrepresentation of the facts. Where does the fine line between personal branding and the truth and exaggeration and misrepresentation stop and start. Who are we to judge? If I set up Darren Ledger Ltd tomorrow, I am for all intents and purposes the Managing Director. Although the title implies more than just managing my own work it isn’t misleading. But in the same event if I titled myself on LinkedIn as CEO I think that could be.

The Vain

Put your hands up if you think your profile photo is the real you? I meet people who I am connected to on LinkedIn all the time. In the vast majority of cases their profile photo is a genuine reflection of them. But it’s usually them when they were 10 years younger. I’m guilty of this myself. I looked better 5-6 years ago when the photo I use was taken. I’m smiling for a start. I like that photo, I was relaxed, was not aware of the camera and my nose looks remarkably smaller than it actually is.

Should it really matter?

But the real point of writing this blog is that without confusing LinkedIn with Facebook and I know many do, is there actually a line in the sand about how much of our real personality and our beliefs and opinions we should share on line? Does this justify having an alter ego that may be far removed from who we are in real life. Is this a personal assessment of the risks both professionally and personally? I wrote extensively on LinkedIn about my views on the Scottish Independence Referendum, I’m openly an Arsenal FC supporter, I have engaged in discussions about why I think the war in Afghanistan was right. Should be clear and open about our political beliefs, our hobbies and passions on LinkedIn? Is this the place to express these opinions? Am I causing my professional brand problems and alienating people or should those of us who portray ourselves as we really are be applauded?

After all, I am exactly what it says on the tin when it comes to LinkedIn, but are you?


PS: Before anyone jumps up and down and begins berating me for using the term Schizophrenia in this post please don’t. I’m well aware of the serious nature of that condition. But I did not think Social Media Walter Mitty had quite the same ring to it…

If I was 20 years younger, I’d be a base jumper!

I often see people complaining that LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, often with good cause. But sometimes as professionals in a world of commerce we become absorbed by accomplishments around our careers and financial gain. It’s easy to overlook the truth of our species, that never ending desire to push boundaries, to go where nobody has gone before, to achieve or even just attempt the impossible is an insatiable appetite within our make-up.

20 years ago (or thereabouts) I was a mad alpine climber, I jumped out of hot air balloons and aircraft, I mountain biked and ran marathons. Today, I try to balance my personal life with my professional life, finding time for a good walk, a stretch on a bike or even getting my haircut is difficult. To that end I resort to watching a new generation do all the things I would dearly love to be able to do now, or could have had the chance to do 20 years ago.

Base jumping from buildings and precarious cliff edges, riding air pockets of turbulence down a deep mountain gorge with an alpine meadow below. Or running through city skylines bouncing and leaping from point to point with grace like a two legged mountain goat would be the order of the day for me if I was 20 years younger. Mixing in some snowboarding with loads of Apres-ski, and the occasional hostile terrain marathon would have filled my days across the seasonal calendar.

Instead I’m resigned to doing the things I can do. When I arise in the morning with the help of a can of WD40 for my knees, and stretch my aching back as I hobble to the bathroom, I’ll take solace in the fact that I did what I could, and that was much more than most are ever privileged to be able to do. I’ve run for hundreds of miles through the Kuwaiti and Saudi deserts, I’ve climbed Mount Cook and Monte Blanc and I’ve rafted in Uganda. But I’ll never base jump the Angel Falls, not in this lifetime at least.

What would you do, if you could do anything? Where would you go and why? Maybe I’ll see you there one day, life isn’t just about chasing promotion, creating that winning personal brand and meeting targets, its about living and exceeding expectation as well.

Thanks for reading, please do comment, I really appreciate them all.


I am a specialist international recruiter within the retail technology space. I may very well be one of the most tenacious, diligent and innovative recruiter’s around, at least I try to be. As importantly I deliver my services and solutions using GrassGreener Group’s very own bespoke candidate assessment and delivery platform called i-Intro®. This means that I don’t just find you exquisite talent, I test it and measure it for you.

If you would like to know more about how I can enhance the way you recruit, increase accuracy of hire and probably totally redefine the way you recruit, click the link above in Bold

Or just reach out and contact me, its free to talk:


Interviewing Backwards – Reverse Engineering Recruitment Part 1

Darren Ledger:

Improvise your interview style and win over passive job seekers, the ones who are basically window shopping.

Originally posted on Recruitment Utopia:

Time-wastersThe Candidates are coming

A candidate driven market is one whereby the candidates are in the driving seat and they call the shots. It means that they can window shop to their hearts content. In the retail world consumers now undertake what is commonly known as ‘showrooming’, guess what? Job seekers are doing it too. Ultimately it will cost you time and money, it will ensure you miss recruiting deadlines, maybe fail to deliver strategic goals or projects. Simply because showroom job seekers will interview, they will even go all the way to offer stage and then decline. Simply because they can.

Exceptional talent, the kind of talent that you want in your organisation has options. They know who they want to work for and why and generally they tend to meet with those organisations first. The chances are if you are privileged enough to get some face time…

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Motivational Self Belief Speakers or Snake Oil Salesmen

images (1)Yesterday I was offered a complimentary ticket to attend a show by a world renowned Motivational Speaker and Author. I use the term show to describe the event because I simply don’t know what else to call it. If it’s anything like the Tony Robbins gig I attended about 20 years ago, show is the appropriate word. The only things missing on that occasion were Elvis Presley costumes and knickers been thrown at the stage, although I do recall we got to see some Kung Fu and Karate moves.

I’m curious though. This is BIG MONEY. There are summits, shows, seminars in the recruitment industry that charge upwards of £1,000 per day per delegate to attend. There is no Gala Dinner or Hotel in that fee either. But for throwing a huge chunk of money at some guy who recruited back in the day when we were all carrying Rolodex and your clients had the number for your local pub, they’ll tell you how to explode your potential. I’m not sure Michael Page or any of the founders of the UK’s leading listed recruitment organisations or their current CEO’s ever attended this kind of event, in fact I’m pretty certain that they didn’t. But they still sell these gigs out, a bit like the Rolling Stones I suppose, you know that what you are going to get is a dusty book jacket, but just maybe there will be that one amazing rendition of a wonderful song that will become legendary like Coldplay performing Fix You at Glastonbury. As a recruiter you just want that one snippet of information, that nugget of gold that will elevate you to the summit of recruitment excellence.

The truth is, if you ain’t got it, you simply ain’t got it. Harsh but true. We are not all destined to be multi-millionaires from this industry and we shouldn’t all want to be. Of course monetary reward plays an important part in what we do, that is fundamentally why most of us go to work. But for me passion for the industry, a love of your job and what it offers you in terms of emotional and psychological reward are just as important. Are you proud of what you do and how you do it? If the answer is a resounding Yes, then just keep doing it until it becomes a No.

In the meantime if you really want to see a Motivational Speaker – there are loads on Youtube for free. Gather the office around and check out my absolute favourite: Kevin Nalts –

The World’s Worst Job Advert – Job Seekers Beware

The excellent organisation Safer Jobs

The excellent organisation Safer Jobs

Want to know what one of the toughest things to be in the World right now is? It’s being a Job Seeker. Trust me, if you haven’t tried it, do. Even if you just pretend for a day. Let me give you one example of why.

Whilst browsing through my professional twitter feed last night I came across this post from The Daily Smarter, for a ‘Director, Human Resources’ vacancy:

“THE TML GROUP INC. – Toronto, ON – strategy to the business strategy Previous experience working in a startup company an asset Candidate Profile: A high energy Leader, the incumbent must be self-directed and motivated Must have a sense of urgency and an entrepreneurial spirit to be successful in a creative and fast paced entrepreneurial environment. Results oriented, the incumbent must also have the ability to “roll up” their sleeves and get involved at a detailed level to ensure that appropriate solutions are delivered in… – Tempo indeterminato – Full time – See more at:

First impressions count and after reading that my first impressions were “How truly bloody awful”. I was stunned by the sheer idiocy of the advert, the absolute lack of any real content or insight. Job seekers have a hard enough time sorting through the rubbish out there in a quest to find a genuine vacancy, but this really does take the biscuit. I thought to myself, this firm needs more than a HR Director, they need a Lecturer in 101 English Language.

But the real kicker was yet to come, curious as to what kind of company could actually post such an advert, I clicked on the ‘Apply now, click here’ link. Fully expecting at worst to be taken to a job board aggregator or similar. Nope, I was actually taken to an page and an advert for a war game called Fate of Arun. I hate war games. So I skipped the advert thinking that maybe this was some kind of initiative test. It wasn’t, it simply took me around to another advert. basically enable anybody to get paid for sharing links on the internet. So effectively there are now hundreds of people who post misleading job adverts on job boards with Apply Now buttons that take you to an advert for something completely different. I’ve seen this in other places and job boards as well, always the free to post ones where there are no real formal checks on content or actual validation of the posting companies identity or authenticity.

This is a shame, as I said at the beginning it’s tough enough being out there in the job market without having your time wasted by pointless exercises such as this. My advice, stick to the credible job boards where an organisation has to pay to advertise. There is a whole plethora of creative and innovative ways that unscrupulous con artists and similar can exploit job seekers whether they are looking to extract up front payments from you or steal your personal identity, but few if any of them will actually pay up front for the privilege.

More information on Job Board Scams and how to be safe here: Safer Jobs

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Retail Tech Recruitment – Treat job seekers as consumers and reap the rewards.

Originally posted on Recruitment Utopia:

imagesSo here we are at last, 2015 has arrived and with it for many, a new age of economic optimism. The retail technology helter-skelter has finally begun to shake out, despite the original doom mongers predictions of a surreal virtual world of on-line stores, it looks like bricks and mortar is here to stay. As a guy who likes to pick things up, try things on and generally get a feel for the quality of the merchandise, I’ll drink to that.

But on a very serious note, we are all excitedly talking about Endless Aisle Inventory Management Systems, little data transforming into Big Analytic’s and how RFID is the new black. Yet few of us are really looking at applying the same level of innovation to the way we attract and engage exceptional talent. Beyond investing in a careers portal and an applicant tracking system (ATS), our desire…

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How to choose the right Recruiter for your firm – use a lie detector test?

Lie DetectorIt’s January and probably like me, you are looking forward to an amazing 2015. But you know that achieving your organisations aspirations could hinge on how well your recruitment strategy works.

So how do you choose the perfect recruiter for you? Even if your organisation has been kind enough to unleash procurement and entrust them to set up a PSL for you, how do you know that the recruiters on that PSL can get the job done?

When I’ve worked in interim in-house roles I’ve often wished that I could formally demand that I put my recruitment service providers through a lie detector test. The reasoning behind this is that rarely, in fact never in 20+ years in recruitment have I ever heard a recruiter say “I can’t do that.” Or “Not really my cup of tea, I’d recommend you go to XYZ firm instead.”

More often than not what is said is more like this:

“So Mr Client, you want a Spikey Haired Carrot Cruncher with experience of living on the moon and has expertise in categorising alien life forms? No problem, that is our speciality.”

“Of course I can find you 6 outstanding passive candidates who have no intention of leaving your competition in 2 weeks for a role with your organisation which is paying less, that’s my personal area of expertise.”

I recently met with a high street recruiter who is renowned for recruiting temp clerical staff. They told me in their opening statement that they also do executive search. I asked them to explain their process and assignment strategy, and then sat back as they dug a massive hole big enough to hide a jumbo jet, or possibly even the ego of a Million Pound Biller Recruitment Consultant in!

So answer me this, if you could hook a recruiter up to a lie detector machine and ask them 5 questions before you agreed to do business with them, what questions would you ask them and why?