The Importance of Social Media
Welcome to Lesson #6.
In the first five lessons, we went over how to answer questions, how to ask questions, and how to dress to impress.
Now that you’ve spent a ton of time on research and preparation to make yourself look good, let’s talk about something you might not have thought about.
Like it or not, we live in a very public world now. The internet has changed every single aspect of our lives.
No matter how much privacy you think you have, you don’t. Unless you’ve never signed up for a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Quora, Snapchat, or LinkedIn account, there is a high probability that your potential employer will find information about you online.
You pass the interview with flying colors. Your interviewer lets you know that they’re about to offer you the job. They just have to conduct a thorough background check.
It should be a mere formality. After all, you’re not a criminal, and you’ve never gotten in trouble with the law other than that one stupid speeding ticket you got when you were a teenager.
A few days later, your interviewer calls you and punches you in the gut. Something came up on your background check that they weren’t comfortable with.
You made a few offensive comments on Twitter six years ago. Because of this, your job offer is no longer on the table.
You’re shocked. You don’t even remember posting anything, let alone anything offensive. But that’s my point. You might have posted something in passing without thinking twice. And then you promptly forgot about it.
My Personal Experience
My last boss was very transparent during the interview process. After going through three lengthy interviews, he told me that he was ready to offer me the job.
He just had to conduct a thorough background check.
Fortunately, I checked out. I didn’t have any public records, and my social media posts were innocuous.
He offered me the job, and I ended up working with him for three years.
What surprised me, though, was just how thorough the background check was.
On top of what I mentioned earlier, it listed my birthday, every single address I’ve ever had, my university credentials, my professional licenses, and my credit history.
It had pretty much everything.
In regards to social media, my background check said the following:
“He is active on Facebook and Twitter, discussing his fondness for photography, traveling, hiking, and the LA Dodgers.”
There’s nothing bad here. But imagine if it had said that I made offensive references. If I did, even if it was years ago, I highly doubt that my boss would have hired me.
Don’t Be Like Josh
You don’t want to be like baseball star Josh Hader. If you are a baseball fan, you’ll know that during his very first all-star game (a huge deal), someone with too much time on their hands went through every single one of his tweets. They ended up finding a few offensive tweets from—you guessed it—six years ago. On top of embarrassment and public humiliation, Josh was forced to apologize and go through sensitivity training.
Here’s the story if you want to read more about it.
Obviously, you’re not a baseball player. Your situation is entirely different. But the lesson is the same.
You really have to be careful about your social media presence.
Now is a great time to go through all your social media accounts, even ones you haven’t used in a long time, and scrub anything and everything that might be interpreted negatively.
If you don’t think that you have anything to worry about, do yourself a favor and check anyway. You will walk into your interview with peace of mind.
That is, of course, if your interviewer didn’t already beat you to the punch.
Tomorrow, we will talk about how to go about the day of your interview.
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