Would you invite the chief financial officer of the company of your dreams to Tiffany’s Sports Lounge on a Thursday night?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that observing a potential job candidate slam a shot or bust into some bar-typical dance moves probably doesn’t qualify as professional. Even without an invitation from you, they may score front row seats to your after hours recreational activities.
Background checks by hiring managers now include your social media footprint. This means anything you’ve posted or been tagged in: photographs, comments, groups you’re apart of, events you’ve attended and friendship connections. Even “hidden” tags can be dug up.
According to a CareerBuilder survey, 37 percent of hiring managers use social networking sites to research job applicants, with more than half of that group using Facebook as its primary source. The majority of these recruiters, around 65 percent, use these sites to evaluate if the candidate presents himself or herself professionally.
As college students, we are both frequent social media users and perpetual job searchers. This makes us prime targets for social media investigations. It’s time to filter your profiles and think about what you’re posting. A seemingly harmless post today could have destructive career repercussions later on.
That said, what’s considered appropriate to share via social media?
The survey revealed that hiring managers may eliminate a candidate if they uncover provocative photos, reference to drinking or drug use, comments speaking badly about a former employer, lies about qualifications or simply poorly-written posts. Nearly 37 percent of the managers surveyed said they have disqualified an applicant for one of these reasons.
If a montage of the spring break pictures you just uploaded is racing through your mind right now, and you’re wondering if they fall into any of these categories, the answer is yes. In fact, chances are they fall into more than one.
So, I urge you to pause before you post.
For the most part, we use social media, such as Facebook, and the virtual, online world as a way to cure boredom or procrastinate. It’s a form of entertainment. But, this leisure activity can have real life effects, the extent of which we may never be fully aware of. You may be overlooked for a dream job because of a foolish picture that was posted years earlier. To me, it’s just not worth it.
Nicole Soyka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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