You probably don't think a potential employer is going to spend a lot of time looking online at your social media. This is, at least, what a survey that came out last year by Microsoft Research says. Seven percent of Americans don't think information online will impact their job search.
That is oh so very wrong. It turns out 70 percent of U.S. recruiters and HR professionals have rejected candidates based on online data.
Reppler, a company that cleans up, as it were, your messy and embarrassing social networking, and found that, according to this survey, only 5 percent of employers don't use social networking sites to screen prospective employees.
Here are a few of the reasons, according to the Reppler survey, that candidates have been rejected:
Posted inappropriate photos — 11 percent
Posted content about using drugs — 10 percent
Posted negative content about an employer — 11 percent
Lied about qualifications — 13 percent
The Forbes story warned readers, however, to not delete or deactivate Facebook. It turns out that 68 percent of potential employers also hired someone because of what they found online. For example:
It gave a positive impression — 39 percent
Showed creativity — 36 percent
Showed they were well-rounded — 33 percent
Supported their qualifications — 36 percent
Forbes' Hill commented that nobody gave the reason that someone "looked really hot in their profile photos." One recruiter wrote in "because they were chaste." Hill found that funny, but nobody apparently wrote "unchaste" as a reason to hire someone.
Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic commented that if people really understood how Facebook affects job searching, the website would change completely. "That's not because social media is bad for job candidates, per se," he wrote, "but rather that the sense people have that they are just talking with their homies would evaporate. It would become clear that Facebook is, in fact, a quasi-public forum in which what you say attaches very strongly to your identity."
Jeffrey Rosen at The New York Times lamented that the Internet means the "end of forgetting." Put a picture up of yourself dressed as a pirate and drinking alcohol and four years later you might find your teaching degree denied because you are promoting drinking to your underage students. Complain on Facebook that you are "so totally bored" at work and you might be fired. Write a paper about using LSD three decades ago and you might be prevented from entering the United States from Canada.
All these things happened, Rosen wrote.
Rosen also quoted Viktor Mayer-Schöberger, the author of "Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age." Mayer-Sch?berger said it was important in the past to erase external memories because society understands human beings learn from their problems and evolve over time. For most of history most of people's mistakes were not recorded and were often forgotten. But a society that records everything, Mayer-Sch?berger says "will forever tether us to all our past actions, making it impossible, in practice, to escape them."
In other words, if we can't forget, we can't forgive.
And we might not get that job.