- "By the work one knows the workmen."
It is clearly known that we are in the information age. It is an age that continues to move forward at full-throttle speed! We live in a time when we can perform comprehensive research in seconds at the same time that we can read our friend’s “tweet” about what he had for breakfast. Social media is a mainstay in our interaction and in our presentation of self.
It is my purpose to discuss the relationship between our social media interactions and our jobs and networking. Social media is now a widely used tool in recruiting talent and obtaining viable job candidates. According to a recent Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey, the following information was collected:
- 73% of respondents currently use online social networks or social media sites to support their recruiting efforts.
- 92% of respondents hiring in 2010 currently use or plan to recruit via social networks.
- 78% of respondents use LinkedIn for recruiting; 55% use Facebook (up 15% since over 2009); and 45% use Twitter (up 32% over 2009).
- One-third of respondents always check out candidates’ social media profiles when screening them.
- 58% of respondents have successfully hired candidates through social networking websites. 1
To put this in simpler terms, this means that most of the people that are looking to hire you are also looking at your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts. Over half of the companies surveyed have found people to work for them online. These numbers continue to increase.
Let us examine, then, our social network activity. What are we posting and what does it declare about us and those we represent? This examination should cause us to ask a few simple questions about how we are presenting ourselves.
1. Are there posts or comments on my profile that are derogatory toward my current employer?
2. Are there pictures or posts on my profile that would look unappealing to a future employer or recruiter?
3. Am I respectful and honest in the things I post?
Asking these questions of ourselves—and others similar to it—is now a necessity in our online social life. Have you ever typed your name into Google? Try it and see what you can find. Whether we like it or not, what we post on a profile becomes public information. Indeed, it is the World Wide Web.
Consider the Vancouver bus driver who was fired for the blog he was publishing. It began in his training as a new driver when he made daily entries about transit and bus operations. Eventually his readership expanded. The posts continued into comments about his company’s reaction during local snowstorm problems. These comments were deemed critical towards the bus company and this driver was contacted and terminated just hours later. 2
What about the schoolteacher whose job was placed in jeopardy for the display of a photo of her drinking alcohol that was posted on her Facebook page? It turns out this photo was taken during a European vacation. The teacher claimed, “I visited the Guinness Brewery, I went to Italy and had wine. I went to the Temple Bar District of Dublin and drank some alcohol there like any normal adult would.” The school district didn’t agree and the teacher was forced to resign. 3
Disregarding if these examples are fair or not, the fact stands that these examples actually took place. With virtually no employment law and policy in place regarding the use of social media by management it needs to be our prerogative to be watchful of how we present ourselves. If we talk about work on our Facebook page or blog about our personal views of our unruly boss, we are doing so as an agent of that company. This material may or may not be used against us. We are what we post.
Our online social persona can transform into either a friend or a foe. Let us focus on the fact that outside of the pitfalls of social media and employment, our profiles and posts can become an effective asset—an extension of our current resume. Here, we can display our involvement in community ventures, our knowledge and understanding of cutting-edge technology in our field, and a portfolio that exhibits workable skills and abilities. What recruiter would want to miss out on this? Yes, we are what we post. Post wisely.