Got the Job? You Still Have to Pass the "Second First Impression"

Posted by The Editors on February 29, 2012
Got the Job? You Still Have to Pass the "Second First Impression"
You’ve finished a great interview. You’re the top candidate and you’re thinking the position is surely yours.

While celebrating on your way home, you tweet to the world: “I totally got the job! Drinks are on me! I’m ready to party!”

But a few days later, you’ve still heard nothing further from the recruiter. WTF?!

The problem for most: the “Second First Impression”.

We all know it’s important to make a good in-person first impression. Even in today’s digital world, however, few understand that once you leave the room – even if you have been wildly successful thus far – you have another test to pass; your online presence – Facebook, Twitter, and the very blog you created to showcase your talent – is now being thoroughly reviewed.

Sadly only 50% of entry-level talent will make the cut, almost all due to one problem: TMI.

And let’s be clear about this: as much as your creativity and independent spirit is admired… for the purpose of a job search the recruiter is going to use an old-school, boomer definition of “Too Much Information” – and not yours.

Most recruiters define TMI as any entry, tweet or post that includes:

  1. Any reference to excessive partying (or the after-effects)
  2. A post that portrays you as an immature high school student (including any remark of a sexual nature)
  3. Racially-motivated comments (even when directed at your own race)
  4. Content that denigrates either gender (and “jk” and “lol” does not make this okay)
  5. Excessive swearing (only Robin Williams and Dan McClure can pull that off)
  6. Any negative comment about your previous employers that is not solution oriented
  7. Entries that mention “boredom” at work (you’re expected to self-manage; boredom is not an option)
  8. Public venting just to make yourself feel better
  9. Excessive whining
  10. Victim statements

Depending on the recruiter, you may get away with one or two of these TMI mistakes. In the long run, however, recruiters are ultimately looking for someone who not only meets minimum qualifications but is also a fit for the company culture. And a party-animal whiner who never chose to grow up and then blames everyone else for their ignorant, insensitive outlook on life is typically NOT a good fit.

I agree: that’s a harsh example. Although I would submit that those entering the workforce leave the preceding impression far too often. And I would hope that this is a mistake one makes only once; the consequences are far too damaging.

Self-assess your current online brand. Then take these steps to remove TMI:

  • Review your Facebook and other accounts to remove all derogatory content: posts, pictures and video
  • Going forward, make sure every post – by you and your friends – will not create a negative reaction
  • Remove the possibility of a stray non-professional posting (perhaps by a friend not taking these steps) being seen by the recruiter: engage your privacy settings

Would your current online presence create a positive “second first impression”? What steps should you take right now to make sure your hard work pays off – and you get that offer?

What would you add to this list?

About the Author: A passionate supporter of Gen Y talent, YouTern CEO Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in Forbes, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, and regarding internships, emerging talent and the current job market – and was recently honored to be named to GenJuice’s “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” list.

About the Author