Social Media & Background Checking
Just a really quick hub on social media and employment and job interviews.
Now that employers have access to profiles on social media what will become of our interviews for jobs or our current employment if employers happen to look us up?
I thought about this because I recently background checked the owner of a site that creates an API. I was interested in integrating their code for an online business I have developed so I searched out the owners profile.
The ability to background check anyone via social media - Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus has become easier than ever but how much should employers rely on this?
I found the aforementioned profile. Well, at least I think so. There is the first issue.
I made the assumption that I had found the person in question as the name, location and company of the person matched a whois lookup.
In this case the chances of getting it wrong were probably slim.
If I'd looked up a more common name, however, it is not hard to imagine how a potential employer could easily make a mistake with this.
Here's the second issue.
Assuming I had found the correct profile - staring back at me on this social media page (Google Plus) was a picture of a person turned away from the camera finishing a drink, glass held high - it looked like a cocktail.
What would you think seeing this?
Here I am looking for a professional and reliable business to build my business on and the first impression I get of my potential business partner is someone in party mode.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a judgemental person but what does a pic like this do for a potential employee or partner when someone is looking for signs of solid business practices and reliability?
Is the business owner aware of the impression he is leaving for people looking him up? Probably not.
His social media page was pretty sparse - perhaps neglected and he might have created it just for a bit of a laugh and to follow a clown or two. Fair play to him but the overall impression left by this page could be detrimental to his business.
I might add, this seems unfair.
We might need to find ways to distinguish between PLAYTIME pages and WORK pages - everyone needs their playtime and the internet is a great place to be doing that - in fact, I would say most social media users would be doing more of this (not work) when they get on social media.
Off the cuff remarks, sharing quirky pictures, stories and links etc...
But does social media - perhaps inadvertently - break the old rule that says DONT mix BUSINESS with PLEASURE?
And should employers make a point of disregarding the social media pages of prospective employees?
How are we to get around this?
I don't have the answers but one solution perhaps is a pre-emptive strike!
Let your potential employer know of your social media page and explain it's a bit of a laugh so from the outset he or she is not drawing conclusions about you based on your social pages.
Look at your social media page and ask yourself - what will an employer think about seeing that - how do I explain it and then EXPLAIN IT!
I think we need to consider the contrast.
In the past, you could get away with certain behaviour once a year at the office Christmas party but can you do the same with your record in social media?
I hope so!