Everyone loves to get muddy from time-to-time. It’s part of our nature and practiced by little kids and young adults around the globe daily – if there’s a mud puddle there’s a very high likelihood we are going to jump in it. Count that as fact.

Those moments of sheer muddy delight cause your parents sheer panic and anxiety as they’re imagining you strolling across their white carpet destroying it with every step. Remember the mess you left behind – you’ve become a one boy home-wrecking muddy monsoon. From my own childhood, there were many times where I was told to turn on the garden hose and spray off outside – good times and great memories that still bring a smile to my face!

Now fast-forward to adulthood and your first job interview. Are your views on social media use as carefree as when you and your little neighborhood crew jumped in mud puddles? What would you say if I told you that jumping into a social media mud puddle cannot be cleaned up with a garden hose? And, those muddy social media footprints you so enthusiastically posted during your formative high school and college years will last in perpetuity – “it means forever and that’s a mighty long time”, to borrow a quote from the musical legend Prince.

Many job applicants are a bit too casual and carefree with their social media posts thinking no one but close friends will notice, but not anymore. In fact, many hiring managers are using social media to screen potential job candidates, looking for anything that doesn’t synch up with the company’s core values.

In the story link above, from the Global recruiting and talent acquisition blogsite TheUndercoverRecruiter.com, the editors chatted with 300 hiring managers with 91% of respondents saying they use social media to screen applicants. Game on! Those same hiring decision-makers are checking the candidate’s social media channels as soon as they receive an application. 69% say they’ve not hired someone based on their findings.

Case in point, Lisa Waters, (Director, Digital Media) with Local Media San Diego, uses social media to screen every job and internship applicant.  “After reviewing resumes and before making phone calls for an interview, I always find out as much as I can about a potential new hire through Social Media. Doing a little digging has made me more excited to meet a potential candidate, but it’s also had the reverse effect, and I’ve moved resumes from the “call for an interview” to the “it’s not a good fit” pile. During interviews, hiring managers screen for whether a potential candidate could pass the “beer test,” but a candidate has to pass the “Social Media test” before I’ll even consider an interview.”

It’s important to figure out early that those posts can come back to hurt your career – no matter how long ago you tweeted them. We see daily reminders of how careless social use can even negatively impact your everyday life – recently a contestant on ABC’s The Bachelorette was under fire for his past controversial posts.

 

Lee Garrett

And, if you’re one of those that think it won’t happen to you because your posts are private, think again! Just ask a few members of Harvard University’s incoming class of 2021 who had their acceptances to attend the college rescinded based on posts made in a private Facebook group chat room for the incoming freshmen. Harvard Rescinds Acceptances for At Least Ten Students for Obscene Memes. That’s a tough lesson to learn.

 

Harvard

 

Always remember, a good rule of thumb for social media is “don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see”. Be smart and don’t let those muddy social foot prints follow you for the rest of your life!