Beware: Potential Employers Are Watching You
Everyone is aware of the significance of a strong first impression; for job seekers, it could make or break their chances.
The way you are seen as a candidate and potential employee is critical, especially when you have invested so much time and effort developing a personal brand.
As impressions go, resumes and interview skills should be no-brainers. Few will argue the importance of being seen as competent and experienced. Resumes should always be honest, readable and error free; interview performances are confident and well-practiced.
However, what if none of those are the first thing a potential employer sees? What appears when the recruiter or human resources department does a basic Google search prior to the interview? Would they find anything disqualifying? Who would be the judge?
In a growing number of cases, the online profile is the first thing employers learn about an applicant. Internet searches are easy to implement, so it is inevitable that they would go first to the web. Nothing is keeping a company from performing searches of publicly available information.
Of course, social media feeds are now commonplace; with that, images of indiscretions are just as common. Nearly all of us have something regretful posted online. Is that an innocent mistake, or a sign of poor decision-making?
The problem for employers and job seekers alike are which activities will be reasonable (an occasional embarrassing photo, for example) and which can be deal breakers (say, bad-mouthing a business on Facebook).
In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Leslie Kwoh talks about the growth of social media and how companies turn to the Internet to assess potential employees. This leads to a grey area and judgment calls; what is harmless and what are signs of trouble:
Drunken party photos. Insensitive jokes. Foul language. Any employer who uses social media to research job candidates is probably used to stumbling upon such indiscretions by now.
The Internet offers companies a gold mine of information about potential hires—and much of it doesn’t make for a good first impression. As social media continues to grow in popularity, however, the challenge for employers is deciding which gaffes are acceptable—and which are deal breakers…