Thursday, March 26, 2009

Party Pictures - TMI

The other day I received a request from a friend on Facebook to connect with one of their friends who has recently relocated to Austin in search of work. Since I have been known to hook good people up on occasion and the request was coming from a respectable acquaintance, I agreed to accept their friend's friend request to me.

What I found was an attractive late twenties individual who through her profile description seemed to be an adventurous, fun loving person that was thrilled to be embracing the challenge of moving to a new mysterious city. The more I poked around on her profile the more I became impressed with what seemed to be a very nice addition to Austin.

I elected to wait to see if this young woman got in touch and then anticipated getting together for coffee to learn more about her job interests. A few days later, I was poking around Facebook and saw an update in my friends' stream. One of the updates happened to be from this young woman. Apparently she had posted some pictures from a recent adventure in Austin. I clicked the pictures and found way more than I expected.

In the previous pictures she had posted on her profile there was nothing out of the ordinary. Pictures of past summer trips, her love of biking and several pictures of her and her friends hanging out and having a good time. The same kinds of pictures we all post right?

However in her most recent update these pictures were quite different. As I thumbed threw them what I saw was inappropriate gang poses, pictures taken after she had clearly fallen down with a beer in hand, pictures of her taking shots and yet more pictures of her and her friends kissing and holding inappropriate body parts. I am no prude but some of these pictures were clearly over the top and even made me blush.

I was faced with a decision. Should I chalk it off to reckless youth although this woman is nearly 30 years old? Should I just ignore the fact that this woman put pictures out there for anyone to see? Or should I maybe be a helpful person and share my shock and dismay with this young woman? I decided to sleep on it.

If timing couldn't be more perfect the very next morning I received an email message from the friend that initially introduced us. She was trying to coordinate a coffee between the three of us. I thought long and hard about sharing some of what I had seen the night before but I didn't. I didn't email back. Instead I waited for this young woman to respond which she did with some dates that would work for her; which by the way also shocked me...."late mornings are best for me because I hate getting up and going anywhere before 10am." What? you need a job but you hate mornings?

I politely declined their coffee invitation chalking it up to too busy a schedule - which wasn't a lie. My schedule gets jampacked most mornings after 9AM and my preference is to meet with most people early mornings.

I stewed on whether I should raise my concerns with my immidate friend or if I should approach this young woman directly. I decided that I needed to say something. After all, most recruiters and HR people I know are now regularly using Facebook and many of the other social media platforms to do secondary research on their job applicants. I know several of you won't agree with this practice but it is our reality in the world we live in now.

I got in touch with this young woman via email and asked her to call me which she did. I told her that I needed to share my sincere concerns for the pictures she had put up on Facebook. Given the amount of "friends" she was accumulating in Austin she was bound to find that some of those pictures might be deemed inappropriate and she might consider taking them down. I told her that I speak and write on this very topic and felt compelled to share as an employer myself how her pictures could adversely affect my perception of her as a potential hire.

She listened patiently and let me say my piece and then said, "Well Steve if you would let those pictures affect your decision to hire me or refer me then I can respect that but I won't change who I am and what I share online. If a company doesn't like what I am about and how I act on my own time then screw them." To which I took her to mean screw me too!

Unfortunately I think this young lady is the one that will be screwed in the long run.

I unfriended her on Facebook and shared what went down with my friend who had initially connected us. She understood and appreciated my candor and said she guessed she needed to think about the Ripple Effect of her actions in referring this young woman and how it might come back to bite her too. True that!

Ripple On!!!!


terri said...

You did the right thing. If everyone chalked such things up to "typical youth" it would merely promote such behavior as the norm. I think young people need to understand that, like it or not, other people - important people - DO judge a book by its cover sometimes.

Sue said...

If one cannot behave like an adult, or drink responsibly past the age of 21, then one is not ready for a 'big girl' job. How you act without supervision is indicative of how responsible you will, or will not, be on the job with the duties you are assigned.

You are right, she is the one who will be getting 'screwed', but she is one of those people who will think the world owes her something until it smacks her in the face that she owes it all to herself.

You did the right thing, and something tells me she'll remember it later on.

Martin Lindsey. said...

You did a good reverse ripple and took your waves back. Spot on big guy.

Sharing the information was your only obligation and since the seed is planted maybe she will adjust her behavior - and her online profile - down the road.

It's good stuff like this that made me recommend you for virtual recognition by the way. Claim your Lemonade Award on MartyBLOGs today. Have a good one.