Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Don't Ruin Your Chances of Getting the Job

Image courtesy of Flickr
Imagine going to be interviewed for a job. During the interview, the employer begins asking questions about your latest posts on Facebook and Twitter. How would that make you feel? In this day and age we are surrounded by technology. Many of us spend much of our time posting on social media, and many of us are unaware that what we are posting could be viewed by our future employers. I pose to you this question: Do you think it is okay for employers to view potential employees’ social networking profiles, or is it an invasion of privacy? In my opinion, employers should be allowed to for a number of reasons.

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.
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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. 

8 comments:

  1. I think it is important to be careful what you share on Facebook or on other sights. You may not realize that what you put up about yourself now can effect you forever. I do think that if your potential employer has to dig for information that isn't just on the web that it is your personal information that is none of their business to go through. overall we don't really have the choice whether they look at it or not, so we need to be careful about what we post because it can affect you forever.

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  2. Hi Hannah~
    This is a very convincing article about the issue of people viewing other people's social network profiles. I was surprised to hear that only 2 in 5 employers view social networking sites during the process of hiring someone. (I honestly thought it would be more!) My question is: what are they looking for in someone's profile? Whether it be negative or positive.

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    1. Hi Duncan09. Thank you for reading and commenting on my post! Employers search for an employee who “fits with the corporate culture, who projects an appropriate image, and who can succeed” (Ogletree). The top three positive traits that they are looking for in a future employee are conscientiousness, agreeableness, and emotional stability. As far as the negatives go, I mentioned earlier the deal breakers that will ruin an applicant's chances of getting the job if the employer comes across them: Bad mouthing former employers, inappropriate language, and too much personal information. I am also surprised that more employers do not search for applicants on the social media and that only two in five companies do. Here is the link to where I found this particular statistic from. You might be interested in reading it!

      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10000872396390443759504577631410093879278

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  3. Hannah, the statistics you share here really drive home the importance of being careful with your social media footprint. Thank you for putting very real facts on something we hear frequently when warning teens to "be careful with what you post." I am curious about your comments on privacy, specifically that people believe what they post online is "private." Why do you think there is this disconnect between social media (which is all about sharing) and privacy? I've just started reading danah boyd's book to help me figure it out. :) Her work with teenagers, technology, and privacy is worth exploring!

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  4. Hi Hannah, I like how you mention that something that an employee posts can ruin the reputation for the company they work for. I agree, it is okay for an employer to check out social media before hiring. If you are willing to post it on a public sight, like social media, then you should be wiling to have everyone look at it, and not just the people you want to see it, but everyone. I noticed that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are most checked by employers, I am surprised not to see Instagram in the top three. Why do you think those two aren't in the top three and LinkedIn, which is less popular, is? -Skatergirl.

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    1. Hi Skatergirl. Thanks for reading and commenting on my post! Good question; I have done some further research, and Linkedln is still a top site searched by many employers. I am sure that they also check Instagram due to its rising popularity, but Linkedln is more often checked. Here are some sources that show the top sights searched by employers:

      http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/infographic-how-recruiters-use-social-media-screen-applicants/

      http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/56-of-employers-check-applicants-facebook-linkedin-twitter/7446

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  5. Wow good article, I really learned a lot about how out there we all really are. I really have never thought about how devastating posting inappropriate things can be in life and I think your points are very valid. I think that people need to be aware because even if they aren't like they were a couple years ago one picture can ruin one's reputation. And in a world where job competition is everything people need to know the dangers.

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    1. Hi 8buLLLdoZer8. Thank you for reading and commenting! Your comment was very thoughtful and it summarized exactly how I feel about the topic. I was very surprised by the number of applicants who were not hired due to what the employer discovered on their social media profiles; 63 percent according to Careerbuilder.com. You might be interested in reading this article that I got many of my facts from:

      http://socialraise.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/how-employers-use-social-media-to-hire-employees/

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