Social media prone to workforce observation

Since social media can serve as a platform for hopeful employees to market themselves to employers, it is prone to monitoring by companies. Because of this, it is wise for students to be careful when conducting themselves online.

by Student Writer Morgan Durham

It can be difficult to imagine a modern business or professional which does not somehow represent itself through social media.

Multiple businesses and professionals take advantage of social media platforms to promote their brands, connect with consumers and remain relevant in an increasingly competitive world.

However, as helpful as social platforms can be, it can be even more damaging.

Due to screenshots, social media posts are not always easy to permanently delete, resulting in the creation of scandals that can go viral before the target is even aware of it.

Employers will investigate every social media platform available prior to making a new hire, according to the UNA Career Center.

“Facebook and Twitter have pretty much become gripe pages, and Snapchats never completely go away,” said Career Center Director Melissa Medlin.

Medlin said students should become aware of friends whose online presence could result in negative outlooks on their character and unfollow or unfriend them.  

Red flags would be questionable pictures, comments that are racist, sexist or homophobic, and talking poorly about your previous job or coworkers, said Andrea Hunt, assistant professor of sociology.

Senior Eric Metcalf said if someone posts content on his Facebook page he does not wish to be seen by others, he hides or deletes it.

“If you don’t have the decency to respect my page and respect my wishes, then you don’t need to be on my Facebook,” Metcalf said. “Most of the time, what you post, if I don’t feel that it’s something that I would want an employer or my own grandmother to see, then I’m gonna hide it or delete it.”

Partaking in a cleanup of ones own social media account is also important.

You do not have to avoid social media, but you want to think about what you post and what pictures you share, Hunt said.

Metcalf said he experienced social media workforce monitoring during a job interview.

“(I) went to an interview, and they had my Facebook pulled up before I even sat down at the table,” he said.

However, not all uses of social media are negative and can instead be used as a tool to assist ones future career.

You should work from the assumption that nothing is private and potential employers can see everything you post, Hunt said. You want to clean up your social media accounts and market yourself to potential employers, (which) includes choosing a professional profile picture.

In many cases, social media can act as a pre-interview to a job, allowing employers to see examples of ones personality, likes and attitude.

If utilized wisely, social media can provide a strong promotion of one’s workability.