This question was asked in the Nov. 16, 2011 PTK issues in social networking awareness discussion. We hope that this discussion will fuel the upcoming debate on the topic open to BMCC students. PTK members Elena Matveeva, Alex Ellefson, Hyeon Kwang Choi and Susan Anton presented research and personal experiences to show the pros and cons of employers’ using social networking sites to hire or fire their current and potential employees.
Our members gave us some insight on what employers look for when searching on Facebook, real-life stories, little-known facts that can help protect Facebook users and ways users can avoid being a victim of employer discrimination.
What do employers look for when searching on Facebook? Alex Ellefson shared his research based on a 2009 Career Builder Survey. Out of 2,600 employers surveyed, 45% will used social networking sights to conduct their own background checks. The top reasons for candidate dismissal were: inappropriate or provocative photographs or posts, alcohol or drug use, poor references to employers and co-workers, poor communication skills (such as text language and emoticons), discriminatory language, and false qualifications. The top reasons for candidate hiring were: professional presentation and a “good feel and personality fit.”
Real-life stories: Susan Anton told her real-life example of a friend who was fired from a job because she posted “Updating my resume” to her Facebook page. Elena Matveeva shared the experience of a friend who, on a job interview with the NYC Department of Education, was asked to pull up his Facebook account on demand.
Facts: After asking Hyeon Kwang Choi what he learned from the discussion, he said, “So many people do not know how to use Facebook correctly. As a Facebook user, you must learn the responsibilities and rights that you have.” He made everyone aware that, once we create a Facebook page, we agree to the terms. He shared that Facebook has the right to remove pictures from your profile. If anyone is using your pictures inappropriately, you can fill out a copyright infringement form on Facebook.com.
How to protect yourself: Make your page more appealing. Post positive information, photos, awards (a big plus for employers), connect to leadership and professional grousps, pick online friends wisely and only display good references.
This discussion, in part, arises from the scarcity of employment. We are all products. We must advertise ourselves in the most marketable way. We are, after all, an investment to our employers.
On November 30, 2011 at 2:00PM in Room N-404 (BMCC main campus), there will be a debate discussing the constructive and damaging effects of using social networking sites to screen current and potential employees. Please join us.