Yes, it’s possible! The Federal Trade Commission approved the creation of a “Social Intelligence Report” that your employers, or potential employers, can look at to determine what you’ve been up to and whether or not they want you for the job.
These reports generally flag four things you need to make note of to keep yourself safe, and hireable: racially insensitive remarks, sexually explicit materials, flagrant displays of weaponry, and other demonstrations of clearly illegal activity. The best thing you can do is to keep away from posting about these things on any and all social networking sites you might be on. Don’t do them in the first place, and don’t post about them, even if it’s something your friends are doing without you. They’ll check out your friends list and if you have too many “sketchy” people there, that’s a red flag for them too.
Also remember, this applies to ALL social networking sites. Not just Facebook. Tweets on Twitter are now being archived in other places as well, so be sure to keep your posts clean! As PC Magazine says, if you don’t want your dear old sweet grandmother to see it, don’t post it. Duh.
According to a 2009 survey from CareerBuilder, 45% of employers use social networking sites to screen potential hires. 29% through Facebook, 26% through LinkedIn, 11% through blogs, and 7% through Twitter.
18% of employers found something positive on social networking sites to encourage them to hire someone, while 35% found netagive things to keep them from looking at a candidate again. Notice the large gap between the two, and how relatively low they both are, the positive especially? Make note of that and don’t forget it.
There are five things that are sure to get you fired, or never hired in the first place:
1.) Digital Dirt – self-incriminating photos, or a blog about your drug habits and the night you went clubbing with some friends that went horribly wrong.
2.) Terrible Troll – Scrolling through tons of social media and leaving pointless comments everywhere you can, including as many curse words as possible. This makes it seem like you have nothing to do all day, and an employer might think you’ll spend your workday doing nothing. There’s also a reason curse words are called curse words. No one wants to hear them, so keep them to yourself, please.
3.) Big Mouth – Talking about how much you hate your current or past boss(es). Your potential boss will wonder when (not if) you’ll start to bitch about them online, and they certainly don’t want to be seen in a bad light themselves. Just put yourself in their shoes. Would you like it if someone started talking trash about you online? The same thing is true for your friends. Even if you’re “just joking” it’s not cool to talk trash about anyone, regardless of what you’re saying. A future employer will take that as a sign that you might start doing that to your coworkers, setting the stage for a broken workplace.
4.) Copious Contacts and Comments – Having a lot of “sketchy” people listed as friends and subsequent “sketchy” comments from them. You don’t need to “friend” everyone who asks to “friend” you. Especially if you don’t know who they are!
5.) Keeping all comments negative, including things that should be positive like awards you might have won, or the fun you had on your date last night. You did have fun, right? Just remember not to go into too much TMI when you talk about that cute girl from down the street!
Also keep in mind that some sites like Facebook don’t let you delete your profile. You can “deactivate it”, but that doesn’t delete it permanently. The only thing you need to do to get your profile back again is to sign in. It’s that simple. So before you decide to get a Facebook account, keep things like that in mind.
Wondering what all these social networking sites are that I’ve mentioned? Want to know the best ways to navagate through the digital world so you can get to the other side unscathed? Check out this article for additional information: Social Networking 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2389428,00.asp Even if you’re familiar with these sites already, it won’t hurt to give this article a quick read through. You never know what you might learn!