Would You Flunk A Social Media Background Check? Part 2

Last week we talked about what the regulators are doing. Now I’m going to share some real sad but true stories from the social realm. You may or may not agree with the decisions described here but that’s not the point. What’s important is to understand that –this is reality. I have heard each of these stories first hand. Here we go…

— A CEO described interviewing a young man and liking him. After the young man left, the CEO decided to go online and ‘Google’ him. (Yes, that’s a verb now, to Google.) Here’s what he read on Facebook. “I just had an interview at xyz company. The company is a dog but I’m sure they are going to make me an offer which I’ll take while I keep looking.” He didn’t get the job and probably to this day doesn’t know why.

– A graduate student getting his Master’s in teaching began doing his student teaching. After about 3 weeks, he was called by HR and told he was being terminated. When he asked why, he was told that photos ‘unbecoming’ a teacher were found online. They found pictures of him on his Facebook page  drinking a beer (he was over 21) in a public park.

I live in New York, an ‘at will’ employment state, which means that any employer can ‘let go’ any employee without cause. (ok, that’s not the legal terminology).

Bottom line: Pay attention folks. It’s not a conspiracy but they are out to get you.

Photo credit: Random Good stuff.com

Would You Flunk A Social Media Background Check? Part 1

I talk to job seekers about the power of social in their search. Most people embrace it at some level. Others tell me how stupid it is. That’s cool, do it however you want!

However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) helped to change that in May when it  gave a background checking company, Social Intelligence,  the right to look at 7 years of our internet and social media background. This article from Gizmodo is a real eye opener for all of us, not just job seekers.

The company is looking for publicly available information on site like Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and Craigslist.  It isn’t looking for ‘dirt’ per se but to find out whether you, as a potential employee, would give the potential employer heartburn or worse. In other words, are you trustworthy?

If the company … “finds out you’re pregnant, or gay, or a Muslim, or newly married, or a newly gay married to a pregnant Muslim, it leaves that out of its report. All an employer sees is, basically, that you passed or failed.”

So how will this change how we post, rant  or connect?  The roller coaster ride just got a little bumpier. What do you think?

Photo credit: many thanks to Steve John, found via Escape into Life.com — from the iPhone of New Media Artist Steve John

Networking 101: Who Do You Want to Meet?

When I speak locally,  there are usually a few people who come up and ask to connect with me.  It may take a while but I try to meet everyone who asks me. I like meeting new people and it helps me reach my goal of meeting 5+ new people a week. Do you have a goal to meet a certain number of new people a week? Whether you are a business owner or a job seeker,  meeting new people is critical.

Most  job seekers don’t really have any idea of who they want to meet. Whether you call it your “marketing plan” or target list – please know who you want to meet, and not just oh the hiring manager after you have a particular job in your sights.  If you’re not sure, get a  job search buddy or join a networking group to help you and here are a few ideas.

Think about people in your current, related or desired fields who have a good reputation and are in:

– Academia or are Vendors/Suppliers or Sales People

Think about targeting people in companies where you might be interested in working.  Get introduced to people who are in leadership positions in non profits or on Boards of nonprofits and individuals who teach skills you are interested in learning. And last but not least, meet with people who know a lot of people (network with networkers!) Use Linked In to find the names of people you want to meet.

When I attend a networking event, I am usually there to meet someone I have identified as a potential contact. Someone I hope to help so that they will remember me when they need a consultant. Make that list, check it twice and go out and meet some new people. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo credit: http://www.kvcfi.com/team_careers.htm