There’s a lot more to the story but I’ll give you the quick version. A Software Development candidate straight out of college was very proud of his ability to write, direct, and produce his own movies which he then featured on his very own website – coded of course in all of the newest development languages. Since this business endeavor was more related to the position he was interviewing for than his 4 years at the Quick-E-Mart he decided to add the link to his resume. And then I was sitting next to my boss looking at porn…
This candidate is now known as Mr. Porn Star and I talk about him every time I speak to students about cleaning up their digital image to prepare for entering the working world. We talk about Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc. I tell them the horror stories, how easy it is to be tracked by Recruiters and future employers, how much it can hurt their earning potential, and how powerful it can be to eliminate negative propaganda and create a positive digital image in its place.
Overall, the students get it. The information they put on the internet can have implications – positive or negative.
But where exactly is that line between putting yourself out there on the web and going too far? That’s the question I get most often that I don’t have a good answer for. After all, as someone who often ruffles a few feathers here on FOT, maybe I’m in search of (or in need of) the answer myself.
So where is the line?
You might think it’s easy to point to my Mr. Porn Star example and say that the candidate stepped over the biggest, fattest, most obvious line ever, but you don’t know the end of the story. We put that candidate in the pipeline and gave him an honest interview. Why? Because when our CTO looked at that porn site, he couldn’t deny that the code used to build it was perfect and we needed clean, smart, developers.
So where is the line between showing the world who you really are and entering into career suicide?
Do you have any examples of something you’ve seen online that has caused you to think twice about hiring someone?
Marisa is a Culture Coach for small and quickly growing organizations trying to establish the infrastructure required to create a company full of passionate, motivated, and engaged employees. She has held culture and engagement roles for two nationally recognized great places to work, founded the research and networking group Culture Fanatics, and is an industry recognized blogger. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and twin boys and is looking forward to the day she can bike across the country to raise money for MS research. @marisakeegan.