With sites like Facebook having over a billion users worldwide and sites like Twitter and Instagram following closely behind in the amount of users, you can easily find out what people are doing and what their personality is like just from their various social media pages. Posting compromising photos and explicit status’ and comments really can hamper your hiring potential.
Most employers run background checks on applicants for a job but nowadays the social media check seems to be more and more common as a way of ‘filtering’ through the good and bad applicants. A regular survey by careerbuilder.com has found that in 2012 37% of employers admitted to checking the social networks of potential hires. If you write racist, homophobic or generally demeaning comments, how can any employer take you on and expect you to get on in a multi-cultural work place?
Not only can misuse of social media affect your hiring potential but any comments online that are deemed to be discriminatory, are taken as seriously as if the comments were made at work. 1 in 3 employers have disciplined an employee for inappropriate behaviour on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and the statistic is still growing. So just because you may have an online profile ‘masking’ you, it doesn’t stop you from facing the effects of the comments in real life. The computer screen is no place to ‘hide’ behind.
A prime example of social media affecting your hiring potential and being accused of online discrimination is that of Paris Brown. Kent Police employed by Kent Police as a youth crime commissioner at the age of 17 with a yearly income of £15,000. After she got the job, tweets arose which she wrote from the ages of 14-16, which were of a racist, homophobic and violent nature. There was an official enquiry into her tweets which consisted of calling homosexuals ‘fags’, immigrants ‘illegals’ and travellers ‘pikeys’, and said she had ‘a thing for older men’, an apparent reference to a teacher at her former school. She also made a reference to cannabis in her tweets saying ‘I really wanna make a batch of hash brownies.’ After the tweets were broadcast she resigned from her role, which was meant to be representing the view of the youth of Britain.No further action is to be taken out on Miss Brown; however, she will undoubtedly be more careful on future use of social media.
Most users of social media sites use it in the right way, keeping in contact with friends near or far for free; however, you still need to be careful of what you post online, and what privacy settings you have. A top tip would be to make sure only your friends can view your profile as you never know who may be judging your social life. Make sure your future employers can’t make a case for not hiring you based on using social media for the wrong reasons.