They're Coming For The Kids Now

If you read the book Blind Side, rather than just saw the movie, you know that there is a significant business in the US scouting high school AND junior high school kids for professional sports, especially football. And basketball. And baseball. And hockey, too.

Yes. There are grown-ups making money going to high school and junior high school football games all across the US and making videotapes of kids and talking about their skills, and of course their potential. They are looking for talent, and they are evaluating that talent. Size, and speed, and social situation, and family situation, and genetics, and academic ability, and habits, and learning ability.

Recoil all you want, but it's happening. Horstman's Ninth Law: Embrace reality.

So why, then, is ANYONE surprised that major corporations who recruit on major campuses are looking at candidates' social media profiles? I hear parents and college kids saying "it's wrong" all the time (while they themselves vet others whom THEY meet). This is the sound of regret, not of a moral argument.

I would do it. And have. (I've never learned anything that bothered me, but I'm way picky way before I would get to that stage).

Does that bother you? That young college kids are being evaluated in this way?

Folks, that's old news. You are behind the curve.

College seniors are (young) ADULTS. It's reasonable to expect them to know better, if for no other reason than they are about to get paid like adults. No, whom we are talking about high school kids.

Roughly a quarter of the top 500 colleges in the US review the social media profiles of high school students who are applying to their college. The bleeding edge (right now) of social media vetting is at the high school level.

I would do it if I were at Harvard, or Northwestern, or USMA, or Georgia Tech, or Champaign-Urbana. Some kid is a bully and touts it on his FB page? Some kid gets drunk when underage and then brags about it on his FB page? I know kids drink and do stupid things. But bragging about it - and that's what they're doing when they share it with social media - that's something I think crosses a line I think I can draw.

Publicizing one's life is the same thing as making it public.

Can kids still be kids? Sure they can. Can they make kid errors? Sure they can.

But they can't publicize them and then ask us to not draw conclusions.

They'er coming for kids now

Funny that as an HR recruiter I was looking at social media pages (LinkedIn and Facebook) of candidates just before reading your article. Why wouldn't a potential employer want to know what a candidate is posting out there on the web? It's all about behavior, right?

Is social media used to only

Is social media used to only rule a candidate out?


Any information obtained

Any information obtained about you is going to be used, whether it's positive or negative.  If your social media pages have snippets about your volunteer work doing the jobs you want professionally I imagine that could help.  But remember what the interview process usually is.  Weeding out the risky or the weak candidates.  Looking for reasons to say no.  So yeah, that probably colors the social media hunt.

Best to not have one or maintain a purely respectable presence.  Or at least get some security through obfuscation (use a screen name or something).

Where's the "like" button?

"Can kids still be kids? Sure they can. Can they make kid errors? Sure they can.  But they can't publicize them and then ask us to not draw conclusions."

If you had a "like" or "+1" button...I'd sign up for a second profile just to click it twice.  It makes me think of something you've said on at least one podcast about compelling/controlling people.  Paraphrasing, it was that you can't FORCE someone to do something (as in change behavior...thinking feedback here), but they have to realize that consequences (positive or negative) exist.  Yes...embrace reality.  That could be Horstman's First Law.

Social media passwords

Is it OK for recruiters to ask for private social media passwords during the recruitement process?

Social Media

I agree with the advice. Pictures that you wouldn't want your Mom to see and comments that antagonize in your social media are poor behavior. It is reality that people look at it.

As a hiring manager, I never look at it. I have no interest in your activities outside of work, nor your opinions. My only concern is with your contribution to value toward my team's and my company's success. Your personal life is your own, wacky though it may be. 

I think some people take this advice too far and create an online persona for themselves that is so professional and dry that they look unpleasant to be around. Presenting yourself as a one-dimensional work nerd is not much better than presenting as a drunken frat boy. If you cannot find an appropriate line to draw, then yes, social media may be best avoided.

It's OK to joke around, have fun, and enjoy being a human being with feelings and a life. Just use a little common sense about what you allow to become digital media about you. 

And there is nothing stopping you from having multiple persona's online. One that is clean and crisp, and another that friends all the crazy people you love without your real name attached.

Vinnie2k - I have heard some talk about some people asking for the password to your account. That is not only inappropriate behavior, I would question the legality of that request. Asking someone if they are married and if they have children is not a legal interview question, neither is asking them their religion. 

Allowing someone into your google+ account also gives them access to your google drive cloud folders and everything else google you have. 

So, I'd have to walk away from a job where they wanted to log in as me into any system. There are plenty more like me out there who don't care what is on your Facebook page.