One day the narcissists decided to recruit a junior sales person. Out went the ad, in came the CVs. Eight CVs in total, all highly qualified. Before any were called for interview the sales manager searched for them on Facebook. The frontrunner, who was very well qualified and ticked all the boxes on his CV, was ‘Facebook-ed’ first. There was nothing unusual on his profile page. He seemed to be normal. He didn’t drink, he didn’t appear to party all night, he seemed to care about his family and friends and enjoyed an active outdoor lifestyle. All was well, until the sales manager spotted one of the candidate’s hobbies. He was a keen horseman. The sales manager bristled. No way was this guy getting the job. Why? Because sales chief had a moral objection to horsey people. He thought they spent most of their time hunting feral animals through fields on horseback and hanging around with Anglo-Irish “snobs”. The guy’s CV was binned and someone else (less qualified) was hired.
The point of this wee anecdote is many fold. Firstly, we have all moved on from the first days of Facebook where people uploaded sparse details of their hobbies or kept in touch with the odd pal while traveling. A generation has now grown up with Facebook and has spent its life on the social network, a generation now flooding the jobs market with CVs in the [often vain] hope of landing badly paid jobs.
Much has been written about Generation Facebook (Gen F) and its scant regard for privacy and its seemingly willful abandonment when it comes to uploading an eternal record of its most debauched private activities.
These young people just don’t seem to care that anyone can read their drunken, badly-phrased, misspelled updates – not to mention the obscenities. To hell with it, who’d be interested in what they get up to on Friday nights?
The fact Gen F is so careless and so, seemingly, unaware of the consequences of its actions presents it, and its future employers, with a dilemma. Employers do, eventually, need new employees – but good ones, i.e. those who don’t have a shamefully messy life detailed to the extreme on Facebook. Such good ‘clean’ people are increasingly hard to find.
According to the 2012 annual technology market survey conducted by Eurocom Worldwide, “Almost one in five technology industry executives say that a candidate’s social media profile has caused them not to hire that person”.
Previous Eurocom Worldwide surveys had found almost 40% of the survey respondents from technology companies review job candidate’s profiles on social media sites. In Ireland today it would be very unusual if pretty much every potential employer or HR department didn’t check a candidate’s social media profile before interview.
Anyone, young or old, looking for a job these days will be scrutinised in this way, especially if you’re young. Employers can get a very accurate picture of what they’re hiring with a quick click of a mouse.
Be smart people
There are, however, ways around losing that job because of Facebook or Twitter. Firstly, create a highly professional profile by using LinkedIn. Next create a new profile on Facebook, one that shows you in the best possible light. Get to know the privacy settings on Facebook very well and implement them. If on Twitter, make sure all those ‘hilarious’ and ‘cutting’ wine-induced remarks about Irish politics, society and life in general are deleted.
Most of all, start thinking like an employer. Make sure your online social profile depicts the type of employee a manager would want to hire.
There’s nothing you can do about the horse-hating narcissists. But, don’t worry about them. In fact, be happy that you were never given the opportunity to work with one. It’s a real waste of time.