Failed to get hired because of Facebook

This is a true story of Social Media activity resulting in failure.


A recruiter, we’ll call him Gary, told me this story.

One of Gary’s clients asked him to find candidates for a pretty good job – Manager of Desktop Services leading a staff of 3 people supporting 200 computer users. The pay rate, benefits and profit sharing plan is better than average for the region and industry.

Gary did a great job searching for candidates. He found 3 that his client interviewed and narrowed the search down to two.

Gary’s client asked him to do some more interviewing and research and make a recommendation of which of the two would be the best hire.

Gary interviewed the two candidates two more times and arranged for another high level recruiter to interview them as well.

One of the candidate, let’s call him Steve, rose to the top of the everyone’s list.

He answered all the questions with solid responses, made great suggestions for improving customer service and desktop functionality. Bill, the other candidate  did a good job in the interviewing, but not quite as good as Steve.

Steve was slightly more polite, professional and a little easier going than Bill. Everyone agreed that Steve would be the best hire.

Despite all of this, Gary had a nagging feeling that something was not quite as it seemed.

Gary had looked at Steve’s LinkedIn profile already, but he went back to look at it again. His profile was fairly standard. Nothing different than what his resume shows.

Gary decided that he should Google Steve’s name.  When he did, the top search results were numerous Facebook pictures of Steve.

Gary opened the first Facebook picture. It was in an album that contained dozens of pictures of guys drinking and playing pool. Gary looked at another album, similar pictures.

Many college kids have photos of themselves playing, drinking, dancing and doing what many college kids do. However Steve has been out of college for 3 years and all of these pictures were recent.

Gary pondered what he had learned. Steve was a good candidate, yet Gary worried about recommending him to his client because of these images. What if the client searched for Steve online and found these pictures? Would the client be disturbed about these images? Would he be upset that Gary recommended what could be considered a “party animal”?

Gary searched online for Bill and found a LinkedIn profile that supported his resume. He found a Facebook profile but no public images or activity at all.

Gary had made up his mind. He told his client to hire Bill.

Gary asked his HR manager if he should tell Steve why he did not get hired. The HR Manager said to tell Steve that he was not the best candidate and nothing more.

In summary, the best candidate is chosen based on skills, expertise, experience, critical thinking ability and lots of other criteria, including perception of the person fitting into the working environment. This evaluation is done thru interviews, reference checking and like it or not, Social Media research.

Therefore, make sure your Social Media information supports your business & career goals.


Author: NCWiseman

I am a Networking Strategist and LinkedIn coach and Trainer. I live by my personal edict, "Networking is finding, developing and nurturing relationships that mutually move people forward thru life." I want to help people become better Networkers and better LinkedIn users focused on their business and career goals.

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