A group who titled themselves as, “The Social Media Forum” just wrapped their last of three sessions held today at Starbucks Missouri City, Texas. The group met to discuss the fact that more and more employers are relying on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn when choosing candidates for a prospective position. Companies receive your application or inquiry for job and they take to the internet and allow that to be the deciding factor on if you are hired or even invited for an interview. They are no longer considering the traditional interview, where they are able to ask qualifying questions to determine of you are a good fit for the company or the position.
Today, FOX 26 news also reported: ‘According to a survey by CareerBuilder, almost forty percent of employers do use social media to check out applicants and for 65 percent of them, Facebook is the go-to social media platform. They ask potential employees to like their company pages or join their social circles to get access to their information.’
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The small group of recent college graduates that met today has some interesting perspectives. Baylor graduates as well as Texas Southern University graduates gave their opinions and shared experiences with the encounters they have had with social media when it came to being hired. Amy Sargent, recently obtained her degree in Business Management. She stated that she would likely stray away from the company that stalks her online social media accounts as well as the ones who think it is ok to snoop. Whereas, Johnathan Michelle; who’s not on social media at all, could not understand why it would be a big deal. She says, “Well, if you are not hiding anything-should not worry about them looking.” Her statement was immediately addressed by those social media participants who are actively seeking employment. Collectively, they feel that their Facebook and Twitter accounts should be their escape or a place off limits to the employer or potential employer. They went on to say that everything on their personal page will not represent the company views or opinions, just as everything the company does, may not be in accordance with their whole-hearted interest. As long as they are not partaking in anything that would bring negative attention or an association with the company in to view.
While there was no end in sight to the discussion, one manager gave a personal account. Erick Danielson, previously employed by a large oil and gas company, said that he was fired after he refused to stalk a Facebook account of an employee while assuming an alias. This proved how important this was to the company. He also disclosed that prior to his termination, he was asked to screen all employees by way of Facebook. When he voiced his opinion about it, they began a paper trail to fire him.
Lastly, Rebecca Norman, manager at Home Depot says that she is seeing this more lately as well. While she does not agree that employers should use a person’s social media presence and personal accounts, where people indulge in after work; as a resource for qualifying candidates, she has to abide by the rules. She agrees that the companies overlook lots of great potential by doing this.