Don’t Let Social Media Cost You Your Dream Job
When it comes to job interviews, the goal is to make yourself appear responsible, valuable and professional, like someone capable of using good judgment. People forget to think about the little details that go into applying for a job. Your future employer is getting everything they need to find your online social profile. They have your full name, residence, email address, school history and other various bits of information. Part of the problem lies with people not seeing the importance of the information they share online. Human Resources Manager at San Francisco Zoo Helen Colgan has been there for nine years and says that in the past two to three years, she has seen an increase in applying social media research to the hiring process. The S.F. Zoo uses an outside company that specializes in checking employee social media profiles for any potential red flags when being considered for a position. The level of scrutiny applied varies with each position.
“When it comes to upper level positions, the manager for the position will also be looking into social media profiles,” Colgan said.
Employers aren’t looking to find dirt on people, but are seeking to avoid hiring someone who could bring them unwanted controversy and attention. Some things they check for, and consider a red flag, would be signs of drinking while driving, or the excessive uses of profanity in correspondences with others, as well as any hate speech discriminating against others. These are some examples given by Colgan to understand what to be aware of. Using better judgment online is something everyone, regardless of whether they are seeking employment or not, should be aware of.
Student awareness has begun to rise and this is what people in the Career Services Center at Skyline want to see. Skyline student Roba Bouhassoun is conservative with her Facebook and Instagram accounts. Her account is public and she knows about her privacy settings. When asked if she thought about potential employers looking on her accounts she explained that she is already keeping it in mind. “Yeah, I have the father of my church on Facebook so I can’t post jokes and some things,” Bouhassoun said.
She further revealed that she’s had an experience already with her profiles being monitored. It was not for a job interview, but for an internship she had applied to. She became aware when the company added her as a friend on Facebook. This shows that even before entering the paid workforce, students need to be diligent and smart about online activity. What students need to remember is that they have resources available and people who want to help them form better habits. The Career Services Center at Skyline helps students looking for job fairs, employment, internships and hiring events just to name a few services.
In addition to those resources they recently added an informative workshop called Do’s & Dont’s of the Workplace Behaviors. The hour and a half workshop covers your social media image, trending talk and telephone skills plus more. It was designed to bring more media awareness to students. Lavinia P. Zanassi, faculty coordinator of the Career Services Center, is excited because next semester the school plans on adding even more workshops and awareness for students, including instruction on how to make your profile appropriate and use it to your advantage. Zanassi stressed the importance of media awareness, saying it could also be very important and helpful in a job search. Students should also know how to use social media for networking and opportunity searches. It’s about being aware that someone is always watching and knowing how your persona comes off. In the real world image matters and employers want to know who they are really hiring. They can’t afford to bring someone on who doesn’t make the best judgment calls. Social media sites designed for sharing with others are now proving too much of a good thing can be harmful. With employers now using them to assist in hiring decisions, some students are feeling like it’s a slight invasion. Skyline student Arielle Rosales can relate.
“It is overwhelming to know that employers are now looking through your social media sites,” Rosales said. “I believe that there should be privacy on these sites.” Her profiles on Facebook and Instagram are private, giving her some more privacy from potential employers prying eyes. Her Twitter and Snapchat profiles show only her first name, not last, making it difficult to find her. Although she is aware employers check profiles she still feels as if it is unnecessary. The things to steer clear of would be taking pictures at parties, bars, while driving, wearing minimal clothing or exposing yourself. Students should have some kind of gauge for what is appropriate and what is not to post online. In addition to being smart, today’s students with public profiles may want to clean up older posts as well. Zanassi urges students to be aware.
“Employers will go into the past also for your cyber footprints,” Zanassi said. Students also should be aware of the image they are giving off online by their use of language and humor. Zanassi advises students to be savvy, be careful, and be respectful of yourself and others. Whether we like it or not the era of social media is here. It has pros and cons like everything else. Students need to be active in looking at what they post and think before they post. Never forget once you post something online you never know who will see it if you’re not careful and it can’t be taken back.
By Erica Hernandez, posted on theskylineview.com