Who you are online often matters more than who you are on your résumé
Launching LeadersSunday, December 29, 2019
with Debra Fraser
It wasn't that long ago when, to get all the background info you required on a job candidate, one had to use some serious journalistic or detective skills. Then, a recruiter had to make several phone calls to query an applicant's résumé and interview declarations. But the digital revolution has changed the game forever. Since just about everyone is on social media and many users never think about how what they post will portray or affect them in some distant future, quite a large percentage of them prejudice their chances of landing that dream job long before they're even ready to submit their application. The new MO is that right after perusing a résumé, and BEFORE deciding to interview the applicant, the recruiter Googles the person to examine his/her digital footprint. So, depending on that digital alter ego, that call may never come. Welcome to the future... when your past follows you everywhere. (cue creepy evil villain laugh).
In this age of Instagram, WhatsApp (and yes, people still use Facebook) it has come to pass that the young and the restless never give two hoots about how that questionable photograph, expletive-ridden post or song will appear to the world. Despite well publicised warnings about being socially aware and responsible on digital and traditional media platforms, prospective and existing employees persist in jeopardising their occupational career with poor decision-making, all for a few more likes and follows. It's all good and well to present a clean-cut image of oneself throughout the interview and probationary period. However, sooner or later, that offensive post will show up in someone's timeline, and then comes the all-access pass to the HR or GM's office to answer to the company's employee rules & regulations violation.
Do It For The Love
Simply put, in this new world where workplace diversity and gender sensitivity are catchphrases being enshrined into company culture, employers of choice are mindful when assessing their prospects not just on the basis of their qualifications, but equally so, on their social footprint. Case in point is the recent widely circulated video of the Edna Manley College valedictorian expletive shout-out during his speech. To many socially savvy and probably younger onlookers, it may seem cool. However, for blue chip companies and any organisation keen on traditional values, this could be a major red flag. See, to be selected valedictorian for a prestigious college is akin to being promoted to manager at a reputable company. Now, how would it look to have your star manager cuss some choice Jamaican vernacular at the annual shareholder's meeting? Privacy as we know it, is a thing of the past. Employees need to get with the times and recognise that who you are online often matters more than what you present on your résumé.
Until next time, leaders, keep lookin' up!
Debra Fraser MBA, is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, a board member of the BPIAJ and the Global Services Sector, a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and Society of Human Resources Management. Please direct comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or www.caribbeanhrsolutions.com