Didn’t they hire you on Facebook? You’re not alone
According to recent surveys, 70% of HR workers surveyed in the US admitted to rejecting a job applicant because of their behavior on the Internet. For the most part, these “Internet behaviors” refer to the posting of inappropriate photos and content on social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. In addition to not getting the job, there are countless cases of employees posting content about their shitty bosses or how they wish a coworker dropped dead in the office. Whether you’re looking for a job or like the benefits of being employed, how should you handle social media so it doesn’t ruin your life?
If you were an employer, you would!
Let’s not point fingers and label employers “evil” for looking us up on the Internet. The fact is, we live in a different time than people just 15 years ago. Information on anything, or anyone, is available 24 hours a day to anyone who wants to know, including their employers. Can you blame them? Let’s say you are in charge of hiring a new employee and you are interviewing three candidates. You go home, you get on your computer to check what your friends have posted on Facebook. The temptation is irresistible. All you have to do is type in the applicants’ names and voila, you’ll get an instant insight into how these people actually live, as opposed to how they introduced themselves during the interview. And this is the question. During the interview process, all three candidates seemed very capable for the job and all three seemed very professional. (It’s not that difficult to act professionally and responsibly in a thirty minute interview.) After looking up each of their profiles on Facebook, you quickly realize that two of the applicants seem to party excessively and say very inappropriate things, while one of the applicants has a private profile. How will this affect your hiring decision?
How to manage social media sites so they don’t fool you
If you are still in college and still not looking for real job opportunities, then post all your drunk photos and outrageous comments. Who cares? However, the moment you start looking for a real job, or even an internship, you need to start being responsible with your posts.
If you think you may have online content that could put your hire at risk, the first thing to do is make all of your online profiles private, especially Facebook. Facebook currently dominates the social media scene with a whopping 300 million users. There’s a good chance your potential employers are smart enough to dig up your dirt on Facebook. Once you’ve landed a new job, never post anything negative about the company you work for, your coworkers, or your bosses, period. All it takes is one negative comment to change the way your coworkers and superiors think of you, which could definitely affect your career.
On the other hand, your online presence can also help your career. If you are actively involved in charities or non-profit groups, or if you regularly blog about content relevant to your career, be sure to take steps to make those activities as visible and accessible as possible.