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Are You A Weiner, A Whiner, Or A Winner? | Business

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Are You A Weiner, A Whiner, Or A Winner?
Are You A Weiner, A Whiner, Or A Winner?

With more than 14 million Americans currently looking for work, it is definitely a buyer’s market out there.  Companies understandably want to hire the best candidates they can find.  With so many people to choose among, businesses are looking beyond black-and-white credentials such as education and experience to identify prospective employees who bring something more to the table, such as basic common sense. 

In this regard, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s recent fall from grace should serve as an object lesson for anyone who has a job...and especially for anyone who is seeking a job. 

Social media can be a friendly extension of personal and professional interaction.  It is important to remember, however, that any online post falls under the watchful eye of ‘Big Brother.’  And as the use of online social media grows, job seekers should be aware that employers’ use of social media investigations will understandably grow as well.  

Internet searches enable employers to discover critical traits and behaviors that help them assess an applicant’s suitability. And social media sites, in particular, provide a wealth of valuable information, much of it self-generated by prospective employees, themselves... 

...and not all of it flattering. 

Just as Weiner’s opponents undoubtedly scoured the Internet hoping to find ‘dirt’ that would sully his reputation and bury his political career, employers are searching the Internet, too.  No longer simply checking references, mid- and large-sized companies are using the web to dig more deeply into the qualifications, background, and emotional stability of future hires.  

There are some that would say keeping personal information ‘private’ is simply a matter of logic. It’s true.  In an age of transparency, uploading inappropriate comments and photos does seem to speak to a lack of common sense and emotional intelligence. 

Common Sense and Uncommon Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a phrase originated by psychologist Daniel Goleman.  It refers to a cluster of traits/abilities that relate to the emotional side of life, including the ability to:

  • Recognize and manage one's own and others' emotions
  • Motivate oneself
  • Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check
  • Handle interpersonal relationships effectively

Increasingly, employers are focusing on employees’ emotional intelligence skillset because of its enormous impact on job performance.  According to survey conducted by careerbuilder.co.uk published in the London Telegraph, “more than four in ten employers discarded a job seekers resume after finding incriminating material on their Facebook pages.” 

The articles goes on to detail major ‘offenses’:

  • 38% of job seekers were rejected for lying about their qualifications, the lies uncovered because of real academic records available on social media sites
  • 10% of applicants were rejected for online posts boasting about drinking and drugs online
  • 13% were rejected for making racist comments
  • 9% were rejected for placing racy photos on their Facebook page

Learning What Others Are Born With

Some people are born with common sense and have a built-in barometer when it comes to emotional intelligence.  Others have to learn it.   One option is to sign up for self-improvement classes. 

Another is to hire a professional business coach.  Many of my clients turn to me to help them navigate the ‘new normal’ where a carefully constructed business persona can be completely undone by an inflammatory tweet, a snarky Facebook status comment, or an inappropriate YouTube video. 

I remind them that every time they post online, they are indirectly communicating with potential employers.

How Weiner Went from Winner to Loser

Like many of his peers who have had their business and personal lives collide, crash, and burn because of the Internet, Weiner went through the ‘four stages’ of being found out.  In Stage One – the denial stage – Weiner said that he did not send lewd photos.  In Stage Two – the whiner stage – he complained that he had been victimized by a hacker and called a CNN producer a jackass for questioning him about the photos.

Ultimately, Weiner reached Stage Four – the accountability stage.  Faced with the irrefutable proof of his actions, Weiner finally stepped forward and accepted full responsibility for his actions and lack of common sense.  And thus Weiner, a ‘winner’ in the eyes of the voters and a man many considered a shoe-in as the next mayor of New York City, became a loser. 

Job seekers wishing to avoid a similar fate should post with care.