Monday, October 5, 2015

The social media excuse

I didn't get the job.

I was reminded about this when Facebook notified me that a company I'd "liked" had changed its name. They didn't hire me. That's life. I love my current job.

But, in 2014, I interviewed twice with an auto parts manufacturer in a rusting town. They wanted someone with deep expertise in internal and external communications. Someone experienced in winning over skeptical old-line workers with union ties. Someone who'd done internal videos.
Photo: KarleHorn at German Wikipedia,
CC BY-SA 3.0 or CC BY-SA 3.0 de
3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Me? Not quite.

They didn't hire me, and I politely asked what skills I needed to win that job. They said: "We wanted someone with more experience in social media."

That hurt. I had social media experience, creating Facebook and Twitter accounts, podcasts and blogs for clients. Maybe I could forgive them for not reading my resume, where I'd documented my many social media wins.

It bothered me because they were liars. "Social media experience" was code-speak for: "We want someone younger."

Too many employers believe that candidates over age 50 can't grasp social media, or its power to help businesses grow internal and external relationships. Or maybe those companies simply practice discriminatory hiring. Either way, they're not being honest. They're practicing age discrimination.

And today, I teach a course in social media.

Why did this come up now? Remember, Big Auto Parts Company announced a name change on Facebook, prodding me to visit their page. What did I discover?

Yes, they'd changed their name. Other than that? Nothing. Their page -- the one they'd claimed they'd hired a social media whiz to help refresh -- remained frozen in time, with no new posts or comments since mid-2014. Except for a few caustic consumer complaints over failed products, from 2014.

How's that social media working out for you, Not-So-Big Auto Parts Company?