It is well established by now that employers will Google you and look you up on social media platforms before deciding whether or not to hire you. An incident earlier this week offers new insights into just how they react to what they see.
Spoiler alert: Posting too many selfies is a turn-off for employers.
An employer was calling to set up an interview with a candidate, and perusing her Facebook profile page at the same time. The candidate did not answer her phone, and her voicemail accidentally recorded a lengthy conversation between the employer and one of her colleagues discussing the online profile.
The candidate, Lily Rose-Wilson, had applied for an administrative role at STS Health and missed a phone call from the hiring manager Michelle Lines about the job.
On her voicemail, Rose-Wilson heard the male employer say, “She’s probably out getting another tattoo…” about her failure to answer the phone.
“Or working on her fake tan…” Michelle Lines, the female employer added.
“So, you’re Facebook stalking her?” the male continued.
“That’s what you gotta do, Babe.” Lines confirmed.
(Although the two could be heard admitting that they would be less likely to cyber-snoop the photos of a ‘male technician’ candidate.)
The recording further reveals Lines saying that she had “really liked” Rose-Wilson’s resume, but that she was less interested in her as a candidate because of her online images. “I don’t like her anymore,” she can be heard saying, “She’s taking selfies all the time.”
When Lily Rose-Wilson went to the media with the recording, Michelle Lines apologized for being unprofessional and hurting her feelings. However, she stood by her decision that social media profiles are important tools that employers use when screening candidates.
She suggested that Rose-Wilson, and all future job seekers, make their profiles “more private” while looking for a job.
Which is sound advice. You have to assume that anything publicly visible online will be seen – and scrutinized – by potential employers. Make sure that everything you post casts you in a positive light.
Too many selfies could risk giving the impression that you might be self-obsessed or even a narcissist, and therefore difficult to work with.
Of course, another key takeaway from this story is that when you’re done recording a voicemail message, make sure that you have successfully hung up the phone.