|Image courtesy of Flickr|
To begin with, employees represent their employers and must uphold the company’s reputation. By checking people’s digital reputations on the social media, employers can determine whether or not the person they are considering hiring will misrepresent their company. Checking social media is like a second interview; the employer can find even more information about the person and analyze their work style. In addition, when a person makes their profile public, they are agreeing to their profile being available for the entire world to see. They are responsible for what they post, and they should have no issue with an employer seeking out information about them on the internet, especially when they’ve made it available to the public.
You might be surprised by the amount of employers who use social networking sites to search for further information about an applicant. Two in five companies view social networking sites during the process of hiring. And even more surprising is the number of applicants they turn down because of what they see; 63 percent to be exact. The sites most widely searched by employers are Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedln. They are searching for an employee who “fits with the corporate culture, who projects an appropriate image, and who can succeed” (Ogletree). However, what they most often find are qualities that are completely displeasing. According to a Corporate Executive Board survey, there are some deal breakers that employers come across on applicants’ profiles. Forty-four percent don’t hire because they observe an applicant bad mouthing former employers, 30 percent because of inappropriate language, and 17 percent because of too much personal information. This might shock you. Did you ever imagine that what you post could affect your future? That a simple comment about your former boss or posting a picture of yourself partying could crush your dreams of getting the job you desperately wanted?
Some people are opposed to the idea of employers viewing applicants’ profiles. One could argue that it is an invasion of privacy, that the employer must receive permission before searching for any information not revealed in the interview. “Many social networkers believe that what they do and post on social networking sites is private” (Ogletree). However, as I mentioned earlier, a public profile is available for the whole world to see. On the other hand, if an employer finds something that isn’t on a public profile, I believe that is crossing the line. It is one thing to discover information that is available to the public, however it is a whole other thing to seek out information that is not intended for the public eye. If you are concerned about protecting yourself on the social media, I suggest that you turn the privacy settings on on your account and don’t provide too much personal information. Do you think it is okay for employers to seek out information about applicants on their social networking profiles? Also, how would you feel if an employer was inquiring about your networking profiles? Would you feel as though your privacy had been invaded? It is a complicated issue, and I want to know what you think about it.
Conclusion (Updated: 6 March 2014)
Many of us are unaware that what we are posting could be viewed by our future employers, and some could argue that it is an invasion of privacy. This is what inspired me to write my post. We are surrounded by technology, so it is important to be aware of the consequences of posting and to be mindful of what we are posting. If an employer comes across something they don't like, that could cost you the job. All of the comments on my post agreed with my opinion, therefore my opinion was not changed on the matter of employers searching for applicants on social media. I believe that it is important for employers to search for their applicants. It is like a second interview, and employers are able to find more information about the person they are looking to hire. The comments pretty much summarized how I feel about the matter; they did not help to clarify anything because they restated how I felt. Responding to comments required doing some further research that further enforced my opinion; multiple sources confirmed which sites employers look at and how often they search social media. I really enjoyed blogging. I got to write about a topic that I was interested in and that hopefully others can benefit from reading. It made me aware of the consequences that come with posting particular things on the internet. Although I have no social networking profiles, it reinforced why I do not. I think that it is fine for people to have profiles, but I think that they should be thoughtful about what they post.