The possibility of not getting a job because of those jello shots

Apparently, we sponsored a survey that found that the majority of recruiters had declined to pursue a prospect/candidate because of information they found about a candidate online.

Wow….so this makes me realize that it has been a while since I worked a desk. I admit that. But I still have an opinion. And it’s complicated.

I am sure that recruiters could point to a large number of hires they made, good hires, where if they had searched the person online, they would not have hired them. We look at online info about a person as evidence of how they “are” but it’s really just how they “were.” I am not that embarrassing girl from the 80s. Ever do or say something you regret? Online? Yeah, me too.

Some recruiters start out looking for a reason not to hire someone. I’m not sure why they do this other than an ego-driven hazing ritual. I like to hire people. I do my due-diligence to make sure we are hiring the right people but I tend to start from a place of “yes.” So if I decide not to hire someone, the reason is a good one. And it is notable how fast a “yes” can turn to a “no” in an interview, but anyway. A lot of the stuff you find online about people does not constitute a good reason, in my opinion. So what if your candidate likes to dress up in a bunny suit as long as they don’t do it at work? They call it “personal” time for a reason. I don’t judge.

I think if companies want to do some sleuthing, they should have a consistent back-ground check program and if some of that includes online fact (or picture) finding, that’s OK. I can imagine some egregious stuff is out there (and I am not saying to overlook it) but I think that by-and-large, people (recruiters, hiring teams) are getting scared off by beer bongs and strongly worded opinions. Perhaps a little more open-mindedness and a dose of reality are called for. Because seriously? Seventy percent of recruiters have chosen not to hire someone because of something they found online? Perhaps those recruiters might try to walk a mile in someone elses bunny suit.

Comments (6)

  1. jtenos says:

    I’d even go so far as to say it might be fun to hire someone with an "interesting" personal life.  If you’ve got video of them drunk karaoking Britney Spears songs, you’ve got entertainment for months.  That alone is worth having them on board.

  2. RB says:

    "it has been a while since I worked a desk"

    so do you work on the big rigs or something?

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    jtenos – I totally agree! Makes the holiday parties so much more fun and we like that!

    RB – recruiting term. Glad Ididn’t say "book of business"

  4. belmontej says:

    Although I wish everyone had your open-minded attitude, we students and young professionals know our online presence will be monitored, especially when we are looking for jobs. Its part of the package, prepare your resume, write your CV, and set a friend on limited profile then log in to see what your Facebook looks like from their account.

    It seems like a simple matter of having someone who, at the very least, knows how to adjust their privacy settings and thinks about how their image is going to appear to others online.

    What if that carelessness translates over to the brand or the company they represent? Although I don’t want to censor myself in my personal time I could understand how an employer wouldn’t want to take that risk.

    Additionally can you elaborate on what turns a ‘yes’ into a ‘no’ during an interview so quickly?

  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    belmontej – I guess I don’t see why a customer would be researching people on Facebook to make a decision about a brand. I think people are being overly cautious. I don’t see having fun as carelessness as long as they promise never, ever to have that kindof fun inthe workplace. I have some strong opinions about things that I post here and now I should worry about my future career prospects? That seems kind of crazy to me.

    About the yes/no thing, it depends on the person and what they are interviewing for. It’s all about the person’s ability to do the job well. Every interview is different. Several people weigh in on the decision.

  6. belmontej says:

    About the brand, I meant if they are careless in shaping their own persona perhaps they will be careless about shaping their companies persona as well. A person who censors, to me, shows thoughtfulness and attention to detail.

    Thanks for the feedback, let us hope your opinion becomes a trend 🙂 Then we would not have to stress! Also I really enjoy your blog; your sense of humor always makes me crack-up!