Social Media; Caution When Looking for a Job
It goes without saying that anyone searching for a job should heed the warning “don’t do anything you’ll regret” and do not post it on social media.
Social media is so prevalent in society now it has become common for most people to post their life events to their personal pages to share with others. While this can be interesting, it can also be damaging if a person posts pictures that show a side of them that may not blend well with a potential employer’s expectation of an employee.
If you are seeking a job, take time to review your social media accounts and make sure any compromising pictures are removed. Employers are not intentionally checking a job seeker’s social media to look for damaging information but are looking to get a sense of who the job seeker is as a person and to see what others say about them.
In today’s job market potential employers may conduct professional background checks and will likely visit social media pages when deciding on who to hire. Employers not only check on potential employees but may also monitor social media activity of current employees. Employers are looking for those who present themselves as professional, if the job seeker posts compromising pictures, the employer may choose not to hire them. Young job seekers should delete any pictures that may be detrimental to their future (e.g., college parties). While it is common to post pictures of people having fun, employers can and do make an opinion based on what they see you post.
Job seekers, it is time to clean up your social media! Review and delete any photos that could compromise your ability to get the job you want. It is best to make your social media private. During the interview process, you may be asked for your social media account information, so be familiar with the laws in your state and decide how much information to disclose.
For jobs that are with the federal government or that require security clearance, it is imperative that the job seeker either not have any social media presence or if they do, be very cognizant of what is posted. Social media checks are part of government background checks. If security clearance is required, employers will always look at all aspects of a person applying for a job which includes social media presence as well as possibly interviewing neighbors. .
Be mindful of the information being shared in social media picture posts. , Sensitive images of jobs or job sites should never be published because it can also lead to termination.
Is it legal or “fair” to look at social media to determine whether to hire someone? Employers will and do look at a job seeker’s social media, but it is mainly to see what the person posts and whether they reflect what they are looking for in an employee. Does it violate privacy or any federal or state law? It would if the job seeker were denied a job due to discrimination for race, gender, religion, age, or disability.
Keep in mind, even after landing a job, you still need to be cautious on what you post. HR offices may conduct social media reviews on their employees from time to time and if an employee posts something that is inappropriate or derogatory, it could affect their job. Employers are sensitive to posts by employees that negatively impact the business. An employee represents the company they work for and employers want those who represent themselves professionally. An employee must also be cautious not to talk unkindly about their job, another employee and especially their boss publicly on social media. Even though we have the right to free speech, talking poorly may get you fired. It is best to use common sense when you post. The takeaway? If you use social media, post responsibly.