With all the social media tools available today, people have never been more empowered to make their voices heard. Something important just happened? Share it on Facebook! Have a novel thought or clever insight? Tweet it! And why not? You can start people talking or kick start a trend. You can meet new people and have some fun while getting yourself heard…and after all, for most of us, nobody really cares anyway…right?
Well, if you’re in the job market, people most definitely do care.
Google indexes a large percentage of social media content and what they don’t index can be found in other ways. That means, if you post or even ‘like’ something, an internet savvy HR person or hiring manager with a little information about you can likely find it. In fact, uncovering your complete social media footprint can take a few short minutes. As we are becoming more painfully aware with each day’s news, there is nothing hidden in today’s cyber universe. If you are job seeking, even more importantly, companies often go to great lengths to ensure the candidate they select is not just capable but has the cultural fit and core values they espouse. In their quest to find the best candidate, the information you willingly push into the public domain is fair game.
All the effort you put into wordsmithing a great resume, rehearsing answers to 30 or 40 classical interview question, researching the company, driving to and from the interviews, taking time off for two or three interviews, undergoing a battery of testing and anything else required, is at risk. All of it can be undone by ‘liking’ the wrong posting, or tweeting/retweeting what you thought was harmless content only to find someone important to the decision found it offensive or in poor taste.
Further, the company will NEVER tell you why they elected not to hire you when things seemed to be going so well. You will never know that it was your social media presence that was your undoing, leaving you in the unfortunate position of not knowing that you need to take corrective action to avoid having this experience in the future.
Of course, this is America and freedom of speech is protected. So post and tweet away if you are so inclined. Certainly do so if you habitually share positive, service oriented, upbeat, help-your-fellow-man stuff, which almost always leaves the reader feeling positive about the author. However, if you don’t fall into this category of social media behavior, know that people can and will make value judgements.