You hear the stories all the time. The human resources manager decides to do a little ORR (online reputation research) on a job candidate. They hear that they is a great candidate for a job opening. They are the best interview by far and the scuttlebutt in the office is that they are the person for the job. The HR folks then do some basic Google searches and they uncover some other data about the “candidate”. What’s this Flickr page with pictures of the candidate passed out in the bushes after a night of “entertaining”? What about some tweets that the candidate fired off to sound cool but forgot that they were creating their own online resume? Then the candidate doesn’t understand why they didn’t get the job. The candidate now has to go back to the drawing board.
eMarketer reports on research conducted by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com to find out just how much this kind of scenario plays out in the real world and not just as urban business legend. Guess what? It’s real and becoming more commonplace as social media grows more influential over time. HR folks are doing search engine searches as well as looking at LinkedIn profiles and any other data they can access. The results are a bit startling
The findings were more likely to get candidates rejected than hired: 35% of HR professionals said social networking content had caused them to eliminate a candidate, while only 18% reported deciding to employ someone based on a profile.
The top reasons for rejection were, unsurprisingly, “provocative or inappropriate photographs or information” (53%) and information about drinking or using drugs (44%). But job candidates were also hurt by negative postings about their previous employers, poor communication skills, discriminatory remarks and other faux pas.
At this point in time if you are allowing this kind of information to be representative of you in social media setting then you are an idiot. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are you need to be aware of this and if you don’t take heed then you get what you deserve.
Now, let’s look at the plus side of this. If you do the right thing with your online presence you can help your cause.
Do you have any stories about people who likely lost or landed a job opportunity because of their social media profile? If so please share (obviously you need to change the names etc). Now go out and have fun this weekend. Just don’t brag about how much ‘fun’ you had. Your social media footprint is a deep one and it can hurt you in the short and long term.
Remember, friends don’t let friends use social media while drunk.