Social Media Users Beware!

Are you in the market for a new job? Do you have a few social media accounts? Do those accounts reflect your work ethic in a positive light? Do you think a prospective employer would find anything…um…unfavorable in any of your profiles? If you’ve answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, keep reading. Hiring managers are looking for you online so you’d better be certain what they find won’t compromise your chances of landing that job.

Social media profiles can provide quite a bit of information that you may or may not want others to see, such as professional credentials, career objectives, maturity and judgement, abuse of drugs or alcohol and current employment status. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that more than half of all responding hiring managers accessed potential candidates social media profiles during the hiring process.The information that they found that actually encouraged them to hire a candidate was a profile that proved they were a good “fit” with the company and supported the applicants professional qualifications, as well as showed the candidate as a well-rounded and creative individual with strong communication skills.

However, a higher number of hiring managers surveyed admitted they discovered information that resulted in their decision not to hire the candidate. This information included inappropriate photos or postings, trash talking previous employers, co-workers and/or clients, discussions of drinking and drug use and making discriminatory comments. Poor communications skills was another “red flag.” Granted, when trying to get a point across in 140 characters or less, grammar will suffer. But the lesson here is what you put out there can come back to haunt you.

Special care must be taken by hiring managers when accessing a social media profile. Information about a job candidate that can not be used in the hiring process is information such as their race, religion, national origin, age, pregnancy status, marital status, disability, sexual orientation and genetic information, all of which can be found in a social media profile. To get around this, hiring managers may elect to have someone not involved in the decision-making to review the profiles. Also, not all information obtained online is reliable. That’s a given. So hiring managers are taking precautions to avoid invasion of privacy issues, as well as moving through the application review process without jeopardizing any discrimination laws.

Rule of thumb: In this world now inundating with social media, if you are trying to make a good impression, realize it begins online. Make sure you’re presenting yourself online the same way you would sitting across the desk from the person that could offer you that next incredible job. When we joined the social media revolution, we gave up our rights to privacy. If we want to continue to socialize and belong to the enormous internet community that we now call our “friends,” be smart and keep it clean.

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