In today’s digital world, it’s important to be careful about what you put out in the world, especially publicly. Time and again we see people removed from their jobs because they’ve expressed a stance that their companies cannot abide by, nor do they want to be held accountable for in society. As online sales counselors in the new home building industry we are especially susceptible to this sort of scrutiny. the online sales counselor is the face of the builder. If a hiring manager or recruiter can find your profile, so can a client.
Recently I was in hiring mode for a new home builder and I did not check out the social media accounts for a promising new candidate. I went through multiple steps in the hiring process, but in the end when we did take a look at the social media accounts we found language, intonation, and images that did not fit with the company culture. I really liked this candidate! I saw so much promise in their ability to pick up and run with this program and be a star. But when we uncovered these fateful missteps in social channels, we couldn’t, in good faith hire this candidate.
One might ask why not just tell them to clean it up? The problem with that is, that we are not in the business to have to constantly monitor employee social media. That’s not a job I would ask a builder to take on. So what if a one time cleanup resulted in reverting back? How would that later reflect on the company? It also speaks about other qualities, such as maturity, professionalism, and ability to discern appropriateness in and out of the workplace. Again we are talking about public posts, not private posts to friends and family.
When this is the front facing person of your company it’s important for them to have self-regulation and know what wouldn’t look good on a public digital wall.
Some may say that the whole point of social media is to be authentic. There is a difference between being authentic and pushing out a stream of consciousness and information that may impact your profession. We are all multifaceted people, if there are certain things we want to share about ourselves we should consider the audience who has access to these things. Not all information is meant for all audiences. And this can be painfully clear when you lose out on a job that could advance you in your field.
Honestly, I was disappointed that I couldn’t hire this person. But when the information in the social media check came up, I understood why the builder was skeptical about the hire.
I urge anyone looking to enter the online sales world to make sure they examine what they are putting out in the world. If you stand behind it, and it would disqualify you for a position, then just own that and keep looking until you find a company that doesn’t know, or doesn’t care what is on your social media. But it likely won’t be a position where you are portrayed as the face of the company.
I guess a new question to be added to my interview process will include, “Is there anything publicly displayed on your social media that you’d be concerned with if a prospective client or employer were to see?”