A Facebook in the Crowd

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Really, I don’t know what’s wrong with American business today. According to a newsflash that just crossed my desk, a highly qualified job candidate was turned down simply because he “friended” the executive-search consultant assigned to fill the position.

Well, maybe it wasn’t quite so simple. To read from “Job Hunters, Beware,” by “The Wall Street Journal’s” Careers columnist, Sarah E. Needleman, the shocked and awed recruiter was Dan Goldsmith, a managing partner at AC Lion of New York.  The candidate in question was applying for a “senior client-services position.”

So what was so wrong with a friendly Facebook invite?

As Ms. Needleman reports, “after accepting, the recruiter found a semi-nude photo of the candidate, prompting Mr. Goldsmith to withdraw this person from consideration.’It was so horribly inappropriate,’ the recruiter recalls. ‘To flaunt that with such a lack of sensitivity to professional decorum is very disquieting.'”

At the risk of damaging my own professional decorum, I do think it is fair to suggest that recruiter Goldsmith is a bit of a pill, if not a total prude. Though I know you sleep in the clothes you plan on wearing the next day — saves a ton of time in the morning — who among us has not occasionally found ourselves “semi-nude?” And what does semi-nude mean anyway in a workplace environment?

If you unbutton the top six buttons of your shirt, some in the workplace might consider that you are “semi-nude,” but most people would simply assume that you are a Calypso singer in your spare time, and working with your belly button exposed is the way you stay in the “island mood, mon.”

Or did the candidate offend the recruiter’s delicate sensibility by being photographed in a bathing suit? That’s totally offensive to lots of people, and yes, I do mean everyone who ever saw you in your Speedo.  Still, I don’t think letting the world see the waves of flab rolling out from beneath a sliver of spandex indicates that you can not possibly function adequately in a “senior client-services position.” In fact, I think it demonstrates a valuable ability to rise above the typical boundaries of public opinion and common sense to deliver a truly impressive customer experience, like gagging and passing out in shock.

Another electronic boo-boo in this age of instant electronic communication is writing a cover letter claiming that the job for which you are applying is your number one, best-of-all-possible-worlds dream job.  Do this once and you may be OK, but according to Colleen McCreary of the Zynga Game Network Inc., according to Sarah E. Needleman, “candidates consistently damage their reputations by sending cover letters that disingenuously claim a specific position at the company is their dream job.”

Apparently, executives like McCreary have “applicant-tracking systems” that reveal if you have applied for more than one number one, best-of-all-possible-worlds dream job. For Ms. McCreary, for some totally bizarre and highly judgmental reason, these people have now ‘lost all their integrity.’

Really? All their integrity? Totally lost? Because they may have more than one dream? Didn’t you want to be a movie star once? And a guitar hero? Were these not valid dream jobs, no less dreamy than your current dead-end position with a loser company on the fast track to bankruptcy?

People can have more than one dream, Ms. McCreary. And they can have those dreams while in a semi-nude state, Mr. Goldsmith. Seems to me that our technology has moved forward, but the moral standards of our decision-makers are still mired in Puritan times.

[Ms. McCreary title’s is CPO, chief people officer, no doubt to distinguish her from the CRO, chief robot officer, the CZO, chief zombie officer and the CPO, chief poodle officer.]

The final caution in today’s Wii world of job hunters is rock solid. You shouldn’t lie on your resume.  You shouldn’t do it because lying is bad, and because recruiters can easily check.

“Executive recruiter Russ Riendeau says he checks candidates resumes against their LinkedIn profiles,” writes Needleman, “and often discovers discrepancies.” The lesson here is obvious. If you are going to lie on your resume about your education or your work experience, make sure that you put the exact same lies on your LinkedIn page.

Unless, of course, the job for which you are applying is in management. In that case, serve up all the lies you possibly can — the bigger the better. Hey, if you’re looking to land a position in management, you can even be semi-nude.


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