Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Careful With The Web

I was having coffee recently with a good friend of mine who also happens to be involved in the recruiting and hiring of a major software firm here in Austin. My friend was telling me how he really resonated with my recent post titled Twitter Can Kill. It seems that the dark side of Web 2.0 is creating some unique challenges for his hiring of new employees.

As we talked he mentioned one particular candidate that he was gung-ho to hire. A vibrant young college graduate that on the surface fit every specific criteria that they were looking for at his firm. She sailed through the interview processes and the references she received from the two jobs she had held since high school were outstanding. There was no doubt they had a future super star in their midst and he and his team were excited!

He was stoked that they had found her and were just about to extend her an offer when the wheels came off the bus.

It seems Ms. ideal candidate had a Myspace page. Not just any Myspace page mind you, but a rather revealing look into this young lady's personal life. Apparently the site was complete with risque pictures, videos, and an over the top description of what she likes to do with her free time. She also felt compelled to share her opininated views of the world - including what she thinks of working for "the man." For her, my friend was "the man."

The more he and his assistant dug, the more their impression of her unraveled. The Myspace page led them to another website of even more questionable self-published content. Eventually their searching, which he admited was simply a few well place clicks, landed them at Youtube where this young lady had posted videos of her and her friends doing things that would in a word be deemed inappropriate.

Now I am not a prude. I know people put all sorts of crazy crap out there on the web. The problem is when you do that, it may come back to haunt you and that haunting may last for years to come! As I remind everyone that I ever speak to, train or coach, you are always on stage. That stage extends to and goes beyond your personal web habits. A lesson that I truly wish they would teach young people in high school and college. Just because it seems cool at the time and technology offers you a platform to share it with your friends, doesn't mean you should. After all your friends may not be your only audience. Theirin lies the bigger problem!

Because of this one candidate my friend is making it a standard practice to search all available avenues on the web as part of his background checks on potential hires. They even have gone so far as to see what might be out there on their current employees. So far he tells me he has discovered nothing that he can't live with, which of course is a huge sigh of relief. However their future super star didn't get that offer she was expecting and because of policy he can't truly tell her why. How sad for her.

Ripple On!!!


terri said...

That IS sad. Unfortunately, it seems more and more common.

(Hey, I just realized your posts aren't showing up in my reader. Did your feed address change?)

Anonymous said...


While it's sad when someone doesn't get a job that they believe they have wrapped up, I have no special unhappiness about her actions resulting in her not getting hired.

The saddest part of this whole story is that the hiring manager is not able to tell the gal that her choices resulted in her not getting hired. I put the blame for that on the legal system that sues companies for telling the truth, just because their client can't handle the truth.

We make choices every day and too many people have been given passes for the choices they made that resulted in failure.

Look at the housing situation...people that never should have qualified for the homes they were purchasing made the choice to go ahead and so did the funding corp...and BOTH are now being bailed out by the rest of us. Since when does someone earning less than $100k believe that they should qualify for a $500k home?

We are bailing out Fannie and Freddie after they made bad choices. We're bailing out homebuyers that bit off more than all of the member of their family could chew.

I have not always made the best choices in my life, but I have accepted the consequences. We live in a country where we are guaranteed the pursuit of happiness, but that doesn't guarantee happiness, nor does it guarantee that you can sue someone if you get unhappy, but our society has made this way too easy.

Sad for all of us..