by Mark Cummuta

Web 2.0’s Impact On Your Job Search – Name Recognition? Or A Transition?

Jun 27, 20087 mins

I’ve had three people in a month comment their concern about my blogging’s impact on my job search. Now I’m concerned and looking to CIO Magazine’s readers and fellow bloggers for your thoughts.

When I started this blog, my wife and I discussed my open style of management and communication, and agreed to apply my same style to this more public forum.

I then discussed this approach with CIO Magazine’s senior editors, Meridith Levinson and Esther Schindler. They both agreed that an open and honest dialogue from a CIO in a job search was what readers of this blog wanted. And in fact, the highest reader counts have occurred when I have detailed how my job search has personally impacted my family and me.

However, I’ve made one concession since starting this blog. That is, after only a few weeks of writing I decided to stop listing the name of the companies I was interviewing with. I did this specifically to preserve the anonymity of these firms and the hiring managers.


The first instance of concern was brought by a hiring manager in a face-to-face interview. After 3 rounds of prior interviews, in which either positive or zero comments were made about my posts, the hiring manager noted a concern that perhaps I was interviewing with them in order to get an angle or “scoop” for a new post.

I was floored by the question, and more so by the directness of the assumption of my character. When I asked if the manager had read my articles, the reply was “a few”. I reassured them that in fact this firm was a company that I was targeting as one of my top choices in the area, and listed several reasons why. I also assured them that I do not ever shop for interviews solely to write about the experience. Ultimately, a few days later, I was declined as “over qualified”. The irony is that I remain very interested in this company for lots of reasons, but I fear my writing, as a concept, is seen there as a negative rather than as a potential for positive marketing opportunities.

The second instance was someone I’d recently met, who was certain that we had actually met before. Afterwards I realized that he was confusing my writings with my more well known cousin, John Cummuta, who writes and speaks extensively on personal finances. He obviously didn’t like my cousin’s financial advice, because he laid into me. At the time, though, since he was deriding articles and blog posts, with only a rare reference to finances, I assumed he was referring to my posts where I talk about the finances of a job search. It didn’t accur to me until later that I wasn’t his intended target. But, even then, the point I took away from this onslaught was how name recognition can be a two-edged sword.

The third instance was from a networking contact whose opinions I have come to trust and value. Further, he is a fellow blogger within the IT blogosphere. He commented to me recently that perhaps my open communication in these posts might be scaring prospective employers away. This could be like the hiring manager above who did not want to be the subject of a pre-directed article, or perhaps from a cultural perspective that does not see or value such openness in its executive ranks.

My immediate reaction was that I write with the same openness as my management style. The vast majority of my prior employers and clients hired me at least partially because of this same style. And I know of many referencable members of my teams that flourished because of my style. So if any particular hiring manager pre-judges against me for that style, then I probably wouldn’t want to work for them anyway. At least, that was my initial thought.

Impact of Web 2.0:

But when I set about thinking about this further, this became a deeper issue.

I realized that my experiences were potentially what almost any manager might experience in their first foray into Web 2.0. This has significance especially for those in a job search, certainly.

In fact, I know of at least two executives in job searches who have chosen the more conservative route of not blogging or writing articles, specifically so they wouldn’t make mistakes, actual or perceived.

But this same sequence of miscommunication or misunderstanding, brought on by use of these new Web 2.0 tools, could happen to anyone.

Gen X, Y and Millenials have learned the give and take of these tools from direct experience. Some have even said on this site that these are the first generations raised in electronic immersion. But to these generations, either the risk is deemed insubstantial relative to the gains, or, perhaps, so big as to be overwhelming, and thus ignored.

So what is the take away here? What can I, and perhaps we, learn from this experience?

Well, it ain’t to give up or give in! My persistence and tenacity has led to my success time and time again, as I’m certain it has for many of you, as well.

There could be any number of other personal reasons why a hiring manager reading my articles here on or my other Web 2.0 communications might pre-judge against me as an executive candidate. And I can’t control any of them. By choosing to learn and explore, and further, to share and mentor from my experiences in these tools and forums, then I hope that I, and we are the richer for it. There are risks involved in all new endeavors, but I believe the risks associated to this writing endeavor are managed by association with this magazine, its professional journalists and editors, and in fact by its very market – us.

That all said, Web 2.0 is changing how we perceive each other. These tools give us opportunities to share and learn from each other. But as we all know, they also give us opportunity to see others’ basest traits. There is risk in opening ourselves to anyone, and the risks in Web 2.0 interactions expand those “someones”. Risk of identity theft, false representation, fraud, “flaming”, or even simple misunderstanding.

Web 2.0 – The Enterprise Edition:

Taking Web 2.0 into the enterprise has the potential for similar risks and pains. Web 2.0 can also bring to life substantial improvements in communications, understanding, time and process enhancements, and personal improvements. In a corporate environment, those risks are felt, if not wholly understood by the everyday non-technical user. Our efforts here — to understand these tools, to experience and wrangle with them out in the wild — will help us weed out the bad from the good. And in turn, take them from graffiti-strewn potential to manageable, efficient tools positioned for use by anyone in the organization.

Of course, what will the next generation have over the Gen X, Y and Millenials?! I shudder to think! 😀

Reader Input Requested:

So, from the above, I am seeking the input and suggestions from CIO Magazine’s readers:

  • Do you like the openness of my blog posts? Or do you feel that they are too personal?
  • Do you feel that my openness in these posts is risky from a job seeker’s perspective? (This one is particularly directed to executive recruiters and hiring managers)
  • How would you propose I change these blog posts, if in fact you think I should?

As always, thank you very much for all of your emails and input! I look forward to your thoughts and ideas on this one!

In upcoming blog posts, I will be covering:

  • How to get the most out of your referrals and recommendations
  • Informational interviews
  • Networking 201 (Advanced Networking Skills)
  • My resume rewrite (and if we can work out some details, I hope to be able to show the before and after, and
  • Executive employability.


Mark Cummuta