You ensure that your resume looks up-to-date. The shoes are shined and the shirt is starched. You have this job interview in the bag before you even so much as shake hands with the hiring manager. So why are you jeopardizing your new job before you even get it?
There are seven ways that Facebook could cost you your job, even if you just convinced the human resources department that you are the perfect candidate for the position. Adding insult to injury, there is a good chance that not even stellar job performance will protect your livelihood, if you allow your Facebook profile to wreak havoc with your reputation. What should you look out for?
1. Frustrated status updates lead to a place in the unemployment line.
The boss is a jerk, the supervisor is a moron and the cubicle coworker is a lunatic — at least that’s how you feel today while the end-of-the-sales-cycle pressure is on. Yesterday and tomorrow, the position is great and you get on well with management and those around you. Unfortunately, the ubiquitous availability of 4g networks makes it so very easy to just vent your frustration on Facebook for the world to commiserate. If you have made the mistake of “friending” the boss or any coworkers, it won’t take long for your online attitude to get noticed. Open Salon’s “Trudge 164” tells the cautionary tale of a new-hire who took her boss to task and was duly fired — on Facebook. Don’t let your next attitude adjustment take the form of a pink slip!
2. Questionable photos negate a prim and proper front.
Is your appearance like the mullet? You know: all business at the front but a party in the back? Does the same describe your Facebook persona? If you appear at work each day in the knee-length skirt, the prim blouse, Sarah Palin glasses and sensible shoes, the boss might have you pegged as the perfect administrative assistant, paralegal or customer service representative. If your Facebook profile shows you wearing little more than a birthday suit, leaves little to the imagination and includes beer bongs, crowds of rowdy drunks and you front and center, the boss might just wonder who is lurking in the cubicle. More importantly, he knows that if he can find your “real” life in cyberspace, so can the legions of consumers and clients he is trying to reach. If you must have risquÈ photos of yourself, keep them at home in a shoebox.
3. With so many Facebook friends, who needs enemies?
Even if you toe the line meticulously, your friends may not know discretion if it hit them in their backs. Treating Facebook like their own personal blogs, they post the types of rants that are usually reserved for the bartender after the fifth brew. Political rants, religious tongue-lashings and verbiage that would make a sailor blush are just some of the posts they leave behind — on your wall. Let’s not forget about the questionable apps they use as well; Facebook users know the “Stripper Name,” “Sex Game” and related applications that leave status updates, which are as plentiful as the vastly popular — and benign — Farmville. Even if you do not partake in any of these games, they post to your friends’ walls and — by default — to yours. So the boss will ask himself: if this teacher has so many sexually explicit posts on her profile, what is she doing — but perhaps not posting? Still thinking you’re getting tenure? Interview IQ calls this losing by association.
4. Fall for a Nigerian letter scheme that costs the company money, and pack up your cubicle while you’re at it.
Falling for the Internet scammers only happens to other people, right? After all, who still believes that there is the family of a Nigerian official who will share a million dollars with you just for spiriting their money out of the country? That being said, the welcome mat Facebook has put out for smaller businesses also makes it fertile ground for new schemes and scams. They no longer look as obvious as the Nigerian letter scam, but they are still aiming at one thing: gaining control of your money or computer (or both). It is easy to get taken in: a friend has tried the service and posts a status update. Never mind the fact that this status update is merely a sign of the scam’s workings. If you are in a purchasing position at work, you might find that great Facebook deal to be perfect for saving the company some money and positioning yourself nicely for the next purchasing manager position. Unfortunately, after you sign on and the company must spend hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars to rescue their data, free their computers from being hijacked and otherwise deal with the aftermath of your decision, the odds are good that this Facebook use leads to a new opening in the department: your job.
5. Your relationship drama does not reflect well on the employer’s brand.
Whether it is the sale of high-dollar real estate, family-friendly vacations or once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon getaways; your public persona ties into your professional personality. A preschool will search for a worker who genuinely enjoys the company of children and the act of teaching. A travel agency that caters to newlyweds will seek out the representative with a sunny disposition who loves working with those who are starting their lives together. If your Facebook profile is studded with relationship drama, verbal put-downs aimed at your significant other, and rants about the uselessness of men, women, teens, children and anyone else, the employer’s brand is at risk. Even if you can put on a good face while at the office, clients and customers can find the real you on Facebook — and no longer buy into the “feeling” the boss is trying to sell. Do not be surprised if the latest knock-down-drag-out fight with the BF or GF leads to a PS (pink slip).
6. You are a … what?
Somewhere along the way you clicked “like” on a blogger friend’s page and forgot all about it. This friend has always been a bit barmy, but so what? Unfortunately, he is now becoming a well-known anti-gay (or anti-Republican, anti-Democrat, anti-green …) blogger. This does not sit well with the boss, who is pro whatever the blogger rips into shreds. Your future may be short at this company.
7. What security settings?
Probably the easiest way of having Facebook cost you your job is ignorance over privacy and security settings. If you do not know how to protect posts and photos, lock-down a wall or eliminate the ability of certain applications to post on your Facebook profile, you are asking to be escorted from the job — box in hand.
This guest article is written by David Murton. Grab three ebooks, including My Facebook Formula, a free report on Facebook and why you should be using the largest social network for your business, here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/freebooks.html