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Think MySpace and Facebook are all about fun and games? Think again. Social networking sites such as these are adding a complicated factor into the hiring equation.
According to CareerBuilder.com, approximately one in five employers turn to social networking sites to screen potential job candidates. Of the employers turning to social networking sites, one-third said they found information on there that made them decide to rule out a potential candidate. In a field such as the household-service industry, in which employees work in the employer’s private space often in the presence of their family, an online profile can make or break a career.
Thus, it is crucial to carefully construct your public online image. Do not post any information online about yourself that you would not feel comfortable sharing directly with your employer. Further, make a point to screen all of the images posted of you, included those in which your friends have tagged you. No employer wants to see a picture of their nanny—or any other employee, for that matter—partaking in a night of wild partying. It should go without being said that anything even remotely related to alcohol or drug use, inappropriate conduct, criminal behavior, or foul language will raise major red flags in your employer’s eyes.
Another online “no no”: Badmouthing your current or former employer and/or colleague, whether it be via a social networking site or a personal blog. Remember, any information you put out there on the Internet has the potential to reach your employer; it is a smaller world that you may think.
When in doubt, it is always safest to remove or untag any questionable material that may send the wrong message. Or you can set your profile setting to private, so that only your designated friends can view your profile.
Ultimately, it is up to you whether you want your online image to help you or hurt you. Creating a professional online image emphasizing your positive traits may very well provide the career boost you need.
Question: Do you think it is fair for employers to use social networking profiles and other online information sources to assist with their hiring decisions?