Over the weekend, I had a short discussion with a friend on the topic of my job. The conclusion was that I do not think me quitting work and living off of my savings is the right path for me at this time. However, I did come up with a vague deadline for when I will return to this discussion if certain changes at my workplace are not made. For now, I have high hopes. Although, being a realist, I am not holding my breath. We shall see. Everything in due time.
For a brief moment, I thought of life where I would be able to sleep all I wanted. A life where alarm clocks would be unemployed. One where I could dedicate most of my time to writing, editing and revamping my blog. I will not deny that it seemed like a fantastic life for me.
All of that made me think about the hiring process. Looking for a job was never a walk in a park for me, and just thinking about it causes me anxiety. There used to be a time when qualifications were what set the best candidate apart from the rest. We have known for a while that that is no longer the case. Knowing someone might take you further in life than your knowledge and skills. Having a bit of luck does help. However, in the world of the Internet and social media, things have only become more bizarre.
I wrote a post about the changes made to the university admission process a while back. Check out University admissions – Is it getting easier or more difficult to get in? to see what you might have to do in order to be accepted into a prestigious university here in the U.S.
The last time I was looking for a job, I read plenty of articles warning me about the potential ramifications of a negative reputation on social media. It might not matter that you are the most qualified person for a certain job if your life outside of work is less than stellar. All of a sudden, bosses care about you getting drunk on a Friday night. They do not want someone “irresponsible.” They also care about the things you might post on Twitter. God forbid you say something that might not be in line with the company’s values. Yet another example of “freedom of speech” and corporate slavery.
As I read these articles, I could not help but smile. At least that was something I did not have to worry about because my social media footprint is minimal, if not non-existent. I realize that now I have my blog and if it was linked to me, I might be in hot water. However, back then, I had nothing to fear. It was hard for me to comprehend that some of my colleagues posted all sorts of less-than-stellar photos and messages on their social media platforms and they did not have any fear of retribution.
A couple of years ago, a co-worker of mine asked me if I knew a certain thing about the new hire. I did not.
“How do YOU know that?” – I asked.
“It’s all over their Facebook” – my co-worker replied.
“Oh” – was my reaction.
People get to know people behind their backs. They prefer to browse the Internet instead of engaging in a conversation with a person of interest.
Some people do not care about what the Internet says about them. Some go and delete anything that could make them look bad when they are looking for a new job. I chose not to worry about any of that I withdraw from social media. Do you think that increases my chances of getting the job? Apparently, no it does not. It actually HURTS my chances.
Potential employers do not pay too much attention to resumes. They prefer to have someone go online and discover the real you. Career Builder conducted a study last year, and they found out that: “Nearly half of employers (47 percent) say that if they can’t find a job candidate online, they are less likely to call that person in for an interview – 28 percent say that is because they like to gather more information before calling in a candidate for an interview; 20 percent say they expect candidates to have an online presence.” How many employers are looking? Last year it was 70%, with almost 10% vowing to start that practice. That is HUGE! (The results are really mind-boggling. If you wish to read what you should and should not have on your social media, click –> HERE <–.)
Is it fair to be paid for 40h per week, while you are being under your employer’s scrutiny 168h a week? Are you no longer allowed to do whatever you wish outside of work? Sure, I do not condone idiotic social media content, but I think you should be able to enjoy yourself once you are off the clock. Most of us are not spokespeople for the company we work at.
Do not worry if your online presence is less than stellar. You can hire someone whose job is reputation management. What they can do is not only get rid of the stuff you would prefer to forget, but they will also promote the good, boosting your Google ranking. If a potential employer finds your profile on the first page, while the other candidate’s site does not show up until page 2 or 3, it might be your lucky day. A company called BrandYourself offers their services for only $3,000 a year. For that, you can rest assured that they will manipulate the Internet to your advantage.
If you have an online presence, you need to be careful. If you do not have an online presence, you better create one ASAP, or you might find it harder to land a job next time you are looking for one. It seems like you are damned if you do and damned if you do not. Why are we so hell-bent on making our lives harder?
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