Now that social media has gained a real prominence in our society and in the workplace, employers are using it more and more to check out job candidates.
Career counselors are telling those looking for jobs to be careful regarding what they put on their Facebook pages or what they tweet on Twitter because potential employers could be watching. Job applicants should only put information on their sites that will help their chances of finding employment.
But employers need to be savvy as well when perusing social media sites, to be aware of the conventions and customs that are in general use so that they don’t misinterpret things.
For example, a social media site is not a résumé, and should not be treated as one. If you are looking at a job applicant’s site, don’t be too worried about misspellings or grammar problems. Online slang has become common usage, phrases such as “lol” are tossed around a lot. People use shortcuts all the time, so it would be a mistake to look at it any other way than as casual, conversational writing. Don’t take it as a sign of the candidate’s writing ability.
Other things to ignore are rude remarks. Again, looking at someone’s personal profile, you will see personal conversations, teasing and back-and-forth bantering that will likely have some coarse language. That doesn’t mean that the person will behave the same way in a professional setting.
Also, avoid personal photos. These really have nothing to do with the hiring process, and you don’t want them to affect your opinion. Other information not to take too seriously are remarks about job histories that a candidate might have on his or her Facebook site. Don’t regard these comments as anything definitive about the candidate’s qualifications – use the résumé for that.
Finally, federal law prohibits job discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin, and against people with disabilities. If you think this kind of information might affect your hiring decisions, it might be best to avoid looking at social media sites completely, since some of this information will be on the site.
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