Yep. You sent me your résumé earlier today to apply for a position I am advertising and before calling you (or actually not) I Googled your name and checked out your ‘digital footprint’.
I know that it sounds stalker-like and I used to scoff at the idea of looking up job seekers’ personal pages online. However, that was until one of my clients did and came up with an obscene video of a candidate of mine they were about to hire. And then another client Facebooked a candidate and found stuff that was far from inappropriate but was enough for them to decide not to interview the person in question. And then another one, and another one… It was time to realize that it was no longer a fad or a temporary trend, but was rather a new permanent part of the hiring process.
As you are preparing for your next interview, you might be researching how to best dress, what to bring with you, what information not to divulge. But why waste all that time if I Google you and come up with the most inappropriate images, quotes about you hating your job and other not-so-flattering stuff? Yes, in theory the interview process should be fully objective and void of any emotion. I have read countless books and articles about that. Yet, in reality, we base our perceptions and decisions involving others on all of the information they provide to us.
I am using Facebook as an example, but any other social media sites that leave a trail also have an impact on your chances of being hired. If you are constantly grumpy and negative on your Twitter, the hiring manager will question how pleasant you will be to have on the team. If your Instagram is full of pictures of you dancing on top of tables and chugging alcohol, think of an impact it might have on that application you submitted for a managerial position.
“Wait a second”, you might say. “But why should my personal life have any bearing on my career?The two are separate and I am fully capable of being professional during the office hours”. You are right and so here comes my advice:
- Set your Twitter to private or use a nickname
- Set your Facebook to private or use a nickname
- Set your Instagram to private or use a nickname
If, however, you are leading a fully authentic life and want to be seen exactly for who you are, then go ahead and keep your social media as transparent as it is right now. I support both privacy and transparency as it is a deeply personal choice.
I am just Googling you to learn more, that’s all!
Director of Candidate Experience