According to recent surveys, 70% of surveyed HR workers in the U.S. admitted to rejecting a job applicant because of his or her internet behavior. For the most part, these “internet behaviors” refer to the posting of inappropriate photos and content on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. In addition to not getting the job, there are countless cases of employees who post content about their crappy bosses or how they wish a fellow coworker would drop dead in the office. Whether your job hunting or like the benefits of being employed, how should you handle social networking so that it doesn’t screw up your life?
If you were an employer, you would do it to!
Let’s not point fingers and label employers as “evil” for looking us up on the internet. The fact is, we live in a different age than people did just 15 years ago. Information about anything, or anyone, is readily available around the clock for anyone who wants to know, including your employers. Can you blame them? Let’s say that you’re in charge of hiring a new employee, and that you interview three applicants. You go home, jump on the 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 presto, you will get an instant perspective on how these people actually live, contrary to the way they presented themselves during the interview. And here’s the thing. During the interview process, all three applicants seemed very capable for the job, and all three seemed very professional. (It’s not that hard to act professional and responsible for a thirty minute interview). After looking up each of their profiles on Facebook, you quickly learn 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 handle social networking sites so that you don’t get screwed over
If you’re still in college and not yet seeking real job opportunities, then by all means, post all your drunk photos and scandalous comments. Who care’s? However, the moment you start looking for a real job, or even an internship, you need to start being responsible with your postings.
If you think you might have content online that could jeopardize getting hired, the very first thing you need to do is make all of your online profiles private, especially Facebook. Facebook is currently dominating the social networking scene with a whopping 300 million users. There’s a good chance that your potential employers will be savvy enough to dig up your dirt on Facebook. Once you’ve landed a new job, don’t ever post anything negative about the company you work for, your coworkers, or your bosses, period. All it takes is one negative comment to change how your coworkers and superiors think of you, which could definitely impact your career.
On the flip side, your online presence can also help your career. If you’re actively involved with charities or non profit groups, or if you regularly blog about content relevant to your career, be sure to take the necessary steps to make those activities as viewable and accessible as possible.