With more job seekers using the internet to find a new job it is only natural that employers would take the same route in finding and researching potential employees. Your resume and an interview are now only a portion of what employers use to determine if you will be a good fit for the company. A growing number of employers check social media before hiring anyone new, including this in their normal background check. Will your social media pages help or hinder your job search?
A survey of more than 2000 hiring managers and HR professionals conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder in February of 2012 found that 37% or nearly two in five employers check social media when looking at a potential employee. An additional 11% stated they would like to begin using social media to screen new employees.
It’s not just LinkedIn anymore, employers are checking Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media websites to learn more about a potential hire according to the survey. A world once created to allow friends to keep in touch is now another forum you must keep professional in order to secure that new job or keep the one you have.
Employers are looking at your personality, your interests, your background and your demeanor. Would you be a good fit for the company and do you conduct yourself in a professional manner. Listing your education and qualifications, making appropriate comments, posting interesting articles and a well-rounded profile will only help your chances in the job pool.
They are also checking for inappropriate posts, racy pictures, any previous employer bashing, misspellings, hateful rants or racial slurs, illegal activity and to see if you lied about your qualifications. A two sentence status update with three misspelled words does not speak well of your attention to detail. A picture of you double fisting it with your best friend smoking a joint next to you doesn’t build confidence that you will make a good employee. Making sexual comments on every post screams potential sexual harasser in the workplace.
Your current company can also check social media on a regular basis as a determining factor when layoffs are ahead or if a promotion is being considered. If you called in sick but you are really off for an extended weekend and post pictures from Las Vegas don’t be surprised if you end up in your bosses’ office on Monday. Complaints about your boss, coworkers or customers are also potentially a hazard to your employment.
A teacher was forced to resign after her principal was made aware of her vacation pictures that showed her drinking and using profanity in her comments. Gilbert Gottfried was fired as an Aflac spokesperson when his controversial Japan earthquake tweets surfaced.
MBA programs are now offering classes that cover effective use of social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Boston University’s MBA students are required to take “Networking and LinkedIn” as well as “Advanced Networking” which discuss what is and isn’t appropriate to post on social media from a professional standpoint and proper etiquette for making connections. These graduates will be the next generation of executives looking to fill positions with the training to spot a potentially risky employee.
Anonymity can be your friend on certain social media websites if you feel the need to be less than professional. Twitter is one website that is very easy to create a variety of personas that don’t need to be connected to your real name. The app even allows for easy access to multiple accounts. Foursquare allows you to check-in at all the bars and strip clubs you want with pictures and inappropriate comments all under an alias.