National unemployment is around 8.3%, according to the Bureau of labour and Statistics, which means employers can be pickier about who they hire and who they fire. With so many people among the ranks of the unemployed, even the smallest differentiator matters.
One thing that has become increasingly important – social media.
I was listening to CNBC’s documentary The Facebook Obsession on Sirius radio last night when it discussed the unfortunate story of a teacher who was fired because of her updates on Facebook. Many employers are now increasing the amount of attention they give to social media when hiring workers. Simply looking at a resume is just not enough in today’s modern times and employers are increasingly using other methods to see whether someone would be fit for a certain position.
Think about it – you’re always on your best behaviour during an interview. Your resume is always perfectly manicured to project the perfect image. You are yourself when you’re messing around on Facebook.
One of the most common ways that employers now use to assess a person’s suitability for a job is to have a recruiter friend the candidate on Facebook and then take a look at the posts on person’s wall. While many would ask what this has to do with a candidate’s fit for a position in a company, the reality is that someone’s social media posts can say a lot about their overall personality and attitude.
Consistently badmouthing others and using vulgar language could indicate immaturity and an inability to deal with conflicts in a rational manner. Spreading rumours and gossip about the private affairs of other people is a sign that a person isn’t able to keep private matters private and could impact their ability to function in an environment where confidentiality is important. Finally, posting dozens of status updates complaining about how bad things are going in general is a potential sign of a candidate whose personal life is a total train wreck, which may have an impact on job performance.
But on the bright side, “spying” on candidates is not the only use of social media by employers. Many of them post job offers on their Facebook pages, in addition to using other online methods to attract candidates. So, for example, if you want a job at Uncle Bob’s, you way want to take a look at their Facebook page to see if they are hiring any new people for a position that interests you.
The business social network LinkedIn is also a powerful tool for a person looking for work, as it is more focused on an individual’s professional development rather than their personal life. This site allows you to list detailed information about positions that you’ve had in the past, plus any accomplishments that you’ve made in your professional life. Creating even a basic profile on the site could thus be very beneficial for you.
As employers are increasingly looking at people’s social media pages to see whether they are worthy of hiring, you should be careful about what you post online. But you should also take full advantage of the opportunities that social media can give you in your quest to find a job you like.
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