Imagine you are at an interview for a job that you are really interested in. Five or six questions in to the process, things are going well and you’ve done a really admirable job of answering everything that’s been put to you. At that point, how logical and career enhancing would it be for a friend to walk in to the interview in progress, and pull out a can of beer, open it up, give it to you and for you to take a long pull? Or maybe you just decide to utter a few choice curse words in a conversation with that friend because, well, you want to?
Nobody really does that right? Actually they do in a manner of speaking. The result is predictable in that you probably aren’t going to get much further in that interview for that position. Now here’s the really strange part. The interviewer(s) know that the behaviour they just witnessed is entirely inappropriate, but the interviewee often actually believes it’s really no big deal and the interviewer is over-reacting. Now what if I said that the interviewee was YOU?
Ah, that word, ‘friend’ I mentioned. Where do you find, ‘friends’ these days? Well on the internet of course and one app, namely Facebook is where, ‘friends’ get together. When friends get together at a distance, sitting in their cosy little apartments, condos, internet cafe’s etc. it’s easy to forget that you might as well have future employers standing right behind you, looking over your shoulder…just watching what develops. Just yesterday I saw a picture on Facebook of someone I know in a very unflattering moment, drink in hand, appearing intoxicated, and looking pretty rough. To be fair, the picture was taken months ago, in which the person was surrounded by a small group of friends who were just having some fun one weekend. Guards were down, it was all just fun and games…until now.
What’s happening today is that employers really are checking into Social Media – Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter to name a few. Their searching your name, looking for photo’s articles, comments, etc. all in an attempt to see you for who you really are. What they hope of course is that the person you appeared to be in the interview is the person that they see outside of the interview. You’re going to be an ambassador for the company if employed there, and when you are not at work, what image will you by association create for the company?
I was so disappointed that I saw the picture there. And once it’s on the internet, it’s not so easy to remove as you might think. Perhaps someone else picks it up and moves or copies it on to their page, or uses it in some other capacity. Then it’s out of your control. You might even be in a situation where a friend and you have a problem that develops into a split in the relationship and now that picture is viral and potentially a huge problem.
Before you post a picture of someone, ask yourself if you would want a picture of YOU posted on the internet doing something the same. Would it affect your career? That is of course the last thing people are thinking. “I’ll just share it with my friends”, people say. Well what if the friends you share it with have different privacy settings and it spreads? You can’t just lamely say, “Oh I never thought about that, but I didn’t share it did I?” Actually you did.
Maybe nothing happens other than friends having a good chuckle or laugh. That would be a best-case scenario. On the other hand, maybe somebody gets reprimanded at work, fired outright, hours cut back to the point they have to quit, re-assigned to another location meaning they have to resign in essence, or maybe you just get passed over at that interview when otherwise the job was yours. These are worse-case scenario’s.
Maybe you think these things don’t happen at all, or they only happen to other people. Wrong. You’re number just hasn’t come up yet…and somewhere, sometime, you’ll have your name searched and then this article might ring true. If you are immature, too young to know better, or not smart enough to think this happens, not much I can really do for you other than to ask you to at least consider the possibilities. If you are maturing, a little wiser, clean up your mess now. Get stuff that you wouldn’t want your employer to see off your pages. Take a picture with a camera, give the picture to a friend to hold and take it back. Only you have it. Put it on Facebook and it’s there forever, potentially killing career advancement.
I don’t ever want to say, “I warned you” or “I told you so.” If you’ve got a son or daughter who is actively using social media, I’d suggest you share this blog with them. Force them to read it if you have to. Sit down and say, “So what do you think”? Get talking. If YOU have pictures of YOUR friends on YOUR page that fall into this category, delete them out of true friendship. You might be damaging a friends working life without even knowing it.
Something to think about yes, but more importantly….DO something about it!