How Social Media Affects Your Chances at Getting Hired

There’s so much to consider when hiring a potential candidate at any company. Reviewing resumes and checking references have always been the norm but when and where does social media come into play?

There are some fine lines that both HR professionals and candidates alike need to be mindful of when it comes to social media posts and the conclusions that can be drawn from them. An example would be making a hiring decision upon discovering personal information such as a pregnancy or if the candidate is getting married and likely requiring time off in the not-too-distant future.  Making hiring decisions based on this information would be legally problematic under these circumstances and others similar.

On the flip-side, if a candidate presents themselves as good for a role, yet, at the same time, posting overtly bigoted or inappropriate comments on a Twitter or Facebook account that’s visible to anyone on the internet, that’s a defensible reason (legally and morally) for not making an offer to him or her.

Checking social media is the norm these days and job hopefuls should use it to their advantage. Many candidates can and should use social media, especially sites such as LinkedIn to promote their previous work experience and other desirable skills that could help further their chances of landing the job. Leading HR professionals state that you should never keep your skills a secret – even if they aren’t required for the role. Skills such as tech, web, graphic design and any certifications is something that could potentially differentiate you from other applicants.  Something as second nature as speaking a second language that you may not even consider is often viewed as an asset by hiring managers.

On the HR side, when it comes to questionable material, “It’s going to surface and you’re going to have to deal with it one way or another. Why not deal with it when you still haven’t hired the person?” says, Lisa Bertini, of Bertini Law, in Virginia Beach, who specializes in employment law.  She has been hearing from more human resources departments wondering how they should, and can, use social media as a screening factor.Ms. Bertini checks sources like LinkedIn and public Facebook profiles when screening candidates for jobs at her firm.

The bottom-line is to handle your online profile with care. Before uploading a post or tweet, take a moment and gauge how it will reflect on you. Remember, more people than you know may be watching.

Source: New York Times

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