While we are going to aim to stay out of the political fray on this blog, we want to be in the middle of the fray about getting hired. So today we are taking a stance – whether you support Trump or not, DO NOT FOLLOW THE LEADER on social media.
As pretty much everyone in the U.S. who is not living under a rock knows, there has been a lot of news about Trump and Twitter. Just today, Trump posted about “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. As a job seeker, this is not a wise decision. Tweeting incendiary comments, making inappropriate status updates on Facebook, and posting scandalous pictures on Instagram is not a smart move for a job seeker. It adds unnecessary risk and thus lowers your chance of getting an interview or, most importantly, a job. (And if you don’t want to screw up your interview in general…)
Making Sure Social Media doesn’t Screw up your Job Search
We spend a lot of time explaining to candidates the value of having options. We extol the virtues of avoiding silly pitfalls, from dressing appropriately to avoiding typos. While recent research has shown a candidate’s Facebook drinking photos have no correlation with actual job performance, a candidate’s social media presence, fair or not, does impact their ability to get in the door for an interview (and it arguably predicts job performance at least based on 2012 data). We know from research and from more than enough first-hand experience, how you present yourself online can cause you to lose an interview and even a job. It recently got a group of kids kicked out of Harvard. And the worst part is, the Internet lives forever. We recently had a candidate lose an interview for something he did in college five years ago. These things do happen.
Now, we respectfully disagree with the folks that will say the right company will not care. The truth is, the individual person making the decision might care, or worse: they might just say, “well, we have enough qualified candidates, – why bother with this even if it doesn’t matter to us.” There is a risk of losing opportunities and closing off doors, over what is unlikely to be an important stance and more likely to be silliness with friends or a temper tantrum. (Side note, if you have an important stance you believe in and are posting about it all over in a composed and mature way, this is NOT meant for you). So is the post really worth it?
So please, for your sake, do not follow the leader. Think before you post. Realize someone is reading it and judging you for it. It has more potential to hurt your options than you may realize either today or 5 or 20 years from today.