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? We can meet new people and have some fun while getting our-self heard; after all, nobody really cares anyway…right?
Well, if you’re in the job market, there is a high probability the people you will be interviewing 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, share or even ‘like’ something, an internet savvy HR person, IT Recruiter, Engineering Recruiter or hiring manager with 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, 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. Will you be a cultural asset or a cultural liability? Your social media footprint offers important clues.
In the end, 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 post, or tweeting/retweeting what you thought was harmless content only to find the decision maker 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.
The writer is not a big fan of the PC (politically correct) culture. However, it is raising awareness that our words and actions have an impact, positive or negative. One of the downsides of that awareness is it can lead to snap judgments and generalizations that may not have much at all to do with who you are as a person. In the final analysis, having only been in your company a few hours in total, your potential employer doesn’t know you well enough to give you the benefit of the doubt.
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 value judgements can and will be made by employers and staffing firms.