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Social Media's Impact on Employment

Updated on July 7, 2014

In 2013 survey of employers regarding using social media, 40% of them indicated they look at social media sites (like, Facebook, LinkedIn) and search for their employees or candidates. The survey also showed that 45% of these employers said they had found something that was objectionable and rejected a candidate. These were usually- inappropriate photos, language, bad mouthing former employers. But, 19% of the those companies surveyed also found something that "sold" them on a candidate.

Companies like to protect their image and in another survey, 20% of employees admitted to sending confidential company information via emails to the outside world, worse, another 6% indicated they sent customer's credit card and social security information to outside the company. This same group also admitted in sending out private health information. In the medical field, especially in big hospital HMO's like Kaiser, HR continually monitors employees communications for violations of HIPAA and those who talk about health information of their patients on Facebook or in private email are fired. They also monitor Twitter because often FB is linked to Twitter.

Companies are trying to avoid being sued for these violations or being blamed for a person's identity theft caused by an employee just "chatting" loosely about a customer and sending sensitive financial information. Every store clerk who takes your credit card and swipes it is a potential loose link , most are not, but it only takes one to send out your information to nefarious individuals. But companies can use Facebook or other social media to discriminate based on color, sex, religious or anything without being caught. Maybe you are 60 and the employer prefers a 25 yr. old and despite the fact you have the experience and skills, they like the way the 25 yr. old looks, who has no experience. The older person will not even get an interview.

When HR does turn to FB or others, they are looking for evidence of issues that blemish a candidate- drug use, what they blog about, comments that indicate biases and discrimination or signs of moral turpitude. Sex photos, tattoos also are looked for. Many HR searches are really fishing expeditions on suspected employees or candidates. Many employees are terminated when such searches reveal these things, but have nothing to do with work duties. Some have lost jobs because of political or religious comments that are offensive.

HR firms use mostly FB, LinkedIn and Twitter when fishing. They want to see a candidate that appears professional, would make a good fit in the company culture, to learn more about the qualifications of the candidate and look for inconsistencies. Employers like to see a person who is well rounded in experience, good image, has many interests, solid qualifications, evidence of creativity, good references and communication.

In today's world, HR is looking!


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