Social Media: When in Doubt, Leave it Out
Did you know that employers look for you on social media before they even interview you? And you might think employers only do that when they are hiring for full-time positions, but you would be wrong.
Even if you are only applying for a part-time position, there is a good possibility that your future employer is checking you out on social media.
I had a friend call me up and ask what our students were thinking. She had posted a part-time position and was going through the applications. After selecting who she was going to interview, she started looking at various social media sites to find out more about who she would be interviewing. She was looking forward to interviewing her top candidate, until she saw his Facebook page. She wondered when he had time to attend class due to his excessive partying.
His posts were all about getting drunk and pictures showing his partying ways. The language he used left her speechless. She left the site knowing that, no matter how good the interview might have gone, she would not be hiring that young man.
She was looking for someone who was reliable and would represent the company in a positive manner and she did not feel like that young man was going to be the right person. Her decision was made before the interview.
Recently, I was listening to financial advice columnist Dave Ramsey talking about a young lady who tweeted a negative comment about a job she was starting the next day. Her would-be boss was informed about the tweet and he tweeted back that she was fired.
I am sure you could share a story or two yourself, because these things happen all the time. Besides being funny — because, let’s be honest, we all are thinking how dumb can someone be? — I find these stories sad because with a little effort and good judgment anyone can avoid starring in these kind of stories.
Here are a few things to always be aware of:
- Nothing on social media is ever really private. Yes, privacy settings can help, but they are not 100 percent effective.
- Never put something in writing that you could not share with your grandmother. It’s not only what you say, but how you say it. Grammar does count.
- Bury the bodies. DO NOT take pictures and then post them for the whole wide world to see. My best friend always told me if I got rich, so would she, because she knew where all my bodies were buried. Of course she knows where all the bodies were buried — she helped put them there! (And in case you are wondering, no, I do not mean real bodies.)
- Do a Google search of yourself and see what comes up. Just because you cleaned up your accounts does not mean your friends have, and there’s always a chance you forgot something.
With more employers going online to learn about potential employees, you MUST make an effort to give a positive impression.
Social media can hurt your chances of being employed, but it can also help your chances, too. Use it to your advantage!