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Many of you may be aware of the recent debacle regarding the News Journal in Delaware rescinding an offer to reporter Khristopher J. Brooks after he announced his new position with the journal via a mock press release on his Tumblr account.*

Some believe the newspaper overreacted to what was merely a candidate’s excited expression of his new job with the employer, and the situation should have only merited a reprimand and request for it to be taken down.  Others believe that the Journal acted fairly in taking back their offer of employment and that Khristopher not only illegally used the newspaper’s logo but broke certain rules of onboarding protocol when he posted his news on his social media account.

While the jury is still out on this gray area of the observance of social media in the employment process for Khristopher Brooks’s case, there are many scenarios in the recruitment process involving social media that prove to be much more black and white.

And candidates, if you think recruiters, hiring managers, and companies aren’t going to look at your social profiles to glean more about you, think again.  As competition for jobs gets tougher and more employers look at cultural fit, companies are going to try to glean as much information about their applicants as possible to make a sound hire.

For those of you not aware, the majority of twitter feeds are public, meaning anyone can search and find your tweets unless you’ve set your account to private.  Facebook has more privacy settings for your feed, but many applicants fail to adjust them appropriately or opt to friend their co-workers giving them an inside look to spill to a manager about their indiscretions.

In either case, even with privacy settings, a good rule of thumb is to not post any information you wouldn’t want someone like an employer, the authorities, or your mother to see–and definitely if you wouldn’t say it in the interview, don’t post it where an interviewer can see it. Even with all the coaching and awareness out there, some candidates still choose to be too public expressing themselves via social channels and put employers in an unsettling predicament when it comes to their selection decisions.

Every day I like to monitor trends that have to do with the hiring process online and see dozens of tweets or posts flicker by, that, in my view, would give me serious pause to hire an applicant.  Here are a few very recent examples of social media job hunt blunders found easily in public feeds that make hiring managers smack our foreheads and ask, “Why–why would you post that!?”  Following each unsightly post we’ve chosen to include a brief excerpt of what someone from the hiring community might be thinking when they see them. (Note: we have chosen to blur any profanity as well as any identifying information for privacy reasons, even though these applicants obviously didn’t seem to mind.)

Well, thank you for letting us know it was all an act.  We hope you like our acting skills when we politely decline you for the position, but we’ll be sure to try and applaud you for your efforts.  (Oh, and a special thank you for making sure your comment trends with the use of hashtags.)

Glad to know you took this interview seriously and that you won’t pass the drug test if we were to offer you the position.  We can save ourselves the money for the test and move on to the next candidate.

Implications of future drug use aside, it’s interesting to see how impressionable you are as a person and how your character is called into question.

So what was it exactly that you liked about your job again?  I wasn’t quite clear…maybe we’ll give you a chance to explain why you’ll like everyone at our company Monday-Friday…or maybe we’ll just go with someone else instead.

Again, thank you for the direct feedback. Should we return the favor by stating our impressions of you to the general public?  I think we’ll take a pass on a call back.

Speaking of a call back, really?  Are you really expecting one after you’ve given such positive reinforcement to the interview process so far?

Whether we sucked during the interview or you’re talking about your own performance, we appreciate you associating our company name and brand with the word suck in your broadcast.

Hmmm…you mean you knowingly showed up to the interview like this with no real excuse for not dressing the part and showing a little respect, and you had enough time to tweet about it? Next time, maybe use those 30 seconds to find a toothbrush or a breath mint.

If you weren’t clear in the interview, we certainly know how you feel about us now, and I don’t think we want you representing our brand.  Thanks for wasting our time, though.

Again, thank you for the direct feedback.  We’re sorry your experience wasn’t great.  I hope I don’t have any connections with hiring managers at other companies you might be applying to.

We hope that 2nd part of your interview goes well too, because if your boss sees this, you might be out of a job.  And if our bosses see this, I’m pretty sure they’re not going to want to hire someone who publicaly criticizes them.

Thank you for wasting the time of the person who set this (non) interview up for you and the people making time to speak with you.  We’ll be sure to make it an excruciatingly long and painful interview experience to return the favor.

Thank you for letting us know your feelings for the industry and the position.  And, was that a question you forgot to ask us in the interview, because we would have been more than happy to explain our reasoning for it, if you had asked.

Oh, you like your job here, and you lied to us about your whereabouts at lunch today to meet with a head hunter?  Well, it’s a shame, because we liked you too, but we’re going to have to let you go for someone who’s more loyal.  Hope that head hunter lands you a great position while you’re collecting unemployment.

Hmmm….so what you’re telling me is any experience that does not result in the outcome you want is a waste of time?  And there’s obviously no lessons or takeaways that can be learned from a new experience, right? Well this candidate person better bring it to the interview, otherwise it’s a total waste of our time!

While you may be chuckling at the absurdity of some of the posts here, what’s more absurd is how many more applicants do not heed the warnings of how public their self-expression online is. (As, sadly, this was only a meager sampling of the social media faux pas that occur daily.)

The interview process is hard enough as it is on everyone involved.  Candidates, a word to the wise, don’t give hiring managers any unnecessary reasons not to hire you (or for your current employer to fire you.)

Have you seen a social media post from a candidate that made you do a double take?  If you see a public social media snafu, take a snap shot or screen shot and send it to us at editor at interviewing dot com and we’ll consider including it in our next installment.


Salemi, Vicki. Social Media Hiring Dilemma: Reporter’s Job Rescinded After Announcing Job on Tumblr. Media Jobs Daily. April 13, 2012.

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