By Dan Farrell, CCM
We live in an era where social media has empowered you and I to broadcast our thoughts freely to family, friends, and potentially millions of other people. There is much that occurs in our everyday lives, and in the world around us. It’s normal to have opinions and often, strong feelings about many subjects—and our very nature as social beings compels us to interact, be part of the conversation and let our ideas be known.
While social media offers positive benefits in many respects for those who engage, it presents fundamental challenges to private club professionals, regardless of job title. As the saying goes, there are no secrets in love and war. Social media posts leave a paper trail – albeit a virtual one – that includes everything you’ve shared on particular platforms. Pictures, memes, videos, quotes, random thoughts, rants, likes and more—it’s all there to be discovered, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Why does this matter? Three basic reasons:
At GSI Executive Search, we conduct job searches for all types of private club positions throughout the country each year, and based on our experience, social media presence audits are now a standard ask on the part of private club Search Committees. If you’re a candidate for a private club job opportunity, you should be aware that, moving forward, your social media presence will in all likelihood be investigated as a normal part of the due diligence process. LinkedIn, the business networking site, is usually the first stop. But thorough checks extend to all primary social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What to do? I recommend you follow four basic pieces of advice when it comes to your past, present and future involvement on social media:
One final note: In addition to a social media presence audit, executive search firms and the clubs that retain their services can and will Google your name to see what appears in the search results. Doing so entails nothing beyond simply typing your name into a search box. What they find may or may not be of concern to you, but it’s common practice. Keep in mind: Lawsuits, arrest records and other publicly available information appear online, and likewise, discussion board content from sites beyond the primary social platforms also is cached and often appears in search results. So, an opinion expressed, say five years ago, on a niche website, could likely come up in a simple search of your name.
Again, it comes down to professionalism and common sense. Whether you’re a General Manager, COO, CFO, Executive Chef, Director of Golf or Tennis or any other private club position, you have a responsibility to uphold the high standards of your club, as well as your profession. While that absolutely should not preclude you from using social media, you must be aware that your actions in this realm have consequences. It’s up to you to control access to all of your social feeds to the extent possible, mind your narrative with every post, use social platforms appropriately, and alert recruiters to potentially damaging posts before interviews occur.