Social media may affect job possibilities

by News Editor Anna Brown

Professors and friends warn college students to keep their social media pages free of racy material and drunken photos, but can social media affect someone’s chances at getting a job?

Assistant Director of Career Planning and Development Jennifer Smith said many people lose jobs or miss a job offer due to the content of their social media pages.

“Employers will not tell you that they are screening your social media sites, but you can be certain they are,” Smith said.

Because each employee is an extension of the company, employers keep a close watch on employees’ social media sites, she said.

“It’s OK to have an account and post photos of family vacations and such, but constant negative posts do not look good,” she said.

Some companies even make employees sign an agreement that they will not post negative comments about the company on their social media sites.

First Metro Bank Education and Training Director Alana Parker said First Metro views every social media account a potential employee holds before the interview.

“I go talk to high school classes and tell them we are keeping up with what they do on social media,” Parker said.

Parker said most of the time they find good things about potential employees because of the increase in social media awareness.

“Five to seven years ago, you would interview someone and find bad stuff on their social media,” she said. “That’s not as big of a problem anymore.”

She said First Metro views potential employees’ Twitter accounts first, then moves to Instagram and Facebook.

“Most young people don’t use Facebook anymore so we usually view it last,” she said.

Parker said sometimes she knows someone who is on potential employees’ friends’ list. If so, she said they might talk to that person to get their opinion.

Sophomore Briana Thorn said she thinks students must be careful about what they post on social media.

“If a potential employer sees ugly stuff on your social media page, they won’t hire you,” she said.

Junior Amber Morrow said she understands why employers view potential employees’ social media profile.

“They don’t want to hire somebody who might misrepresent their company,” Morrow said.

Smith said using profanity, posting photos of alcohol and lots of “selfies,” and posting while at work send a red flag to potential employers.

“Please, don’t ever post ‘I’m bored’ while you’re at work,” she said. “This could get you in trouble with your current employer and keep you from getting other jobs.”

Smith said one way college students can “put their best foot forward” on social media is to use a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is a professional social networking site.

“LinkedIn is a great way for students to search for employment and show employers what they are capable of doing by posting resumes and projects,” she said. “Our department uses it as a screening tool.”

Smith said Google Dashboard allows users to choose which social media accounts show up first in Google searches.

If people are concerned about what an employer might find on their Facebook pages, they can choose for their LinkedIn account to show up first in the search results.