May 22, 2019 | 02:06 PM


22.11.2013What You Say On Social Networks Could Cost You Your Dream Job

Much of the process of applying and interviewing for a new job is acting

Tony Bradley, Forbes.com

Much of the process of applying and interviewing for a new job is acting—creating a façade that you want the prospective employer to believe, and hiding elements of your true self that you don’t want them to know about. Social networks have changed the game, though, and provide employers with a potential view of the “real you” that could prevent you from getting the job.

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A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University found that what you post to the public on your social networks may cost you an opportunity. Somewhere between ten percent and one-third of US companies conduct a search of the social networks for prospects to learn more about them.

If you’ve been out on the job market, you’re probably familiar with the traditional game. You polish your résumé—and by “polish” I mean exaggerate the facts, and liberally augment them with questionable assertions of your background and skills uniquely tailored for the job you’re seeking. Then, you show up at interview wearing clothes and exhibiting exceptional manners and interpersonal communication reserved for…well, reserved pretty much just for job interviews.

In the end, if you get the job it wasn’t really “you” who got hired. It was the ideal image façade you created just for the purpose of winning the job. Given the mountain of BS involved in the interview and hiring process, can you blame companies for trying to peek behind the curtain by exploring your public social networking persona?

Sadly, though, the Carnegie Mellon study found instances of prospects being discriminated against based on religion. In some cases, Christian prospects got callbacks 17 percent of the time, while those who indicated that they’re Muslim were only called back two percent of the time.

Larry Chiagouris, a professor of marketing at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York and author of the book The Secret to Getting a Job after College: Marketing Tactics to Turn Degrees into Dollars, shares some thoughts. “Job candidates, and particularly college students, need to understand we are entering uncharted territory when it comes to their privacy. Prospective employers have many tools that can reveal something about job candidates that they might not want the world to know.”

It should be obvious that you don’t want to share photos of yourself drunk at a party—naked and dancing around with a lampshade on your head—with the general public. But, there are also many seemingly innocuous details that most people may not have any qualms about sharing, which could impact your job prospects. Making information such as your age, political affiliation, or religion public may have an adverse impact even though companies shouldn’t discriminate based on those criteria.

It could be argued that you don’t really want to work for an employer that would reject you based on those reasons. In the end, you will still be you everyday when you show up for work, and it would most likely be a hostile, and unfulfilling work environment to work under management that would discriminate against you that way.

Chiagouris advises, “The best advice I can offer is to be cautious about anything you make available on the Internet and learn to use the tactics that already exist to avoid leaving a trail you would rather not have discovered. You should keep your privacy as a top priority at all times or you might lose out on a wonderful job opportunity for what might be something totally irrelevant to the job requirements.”

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