Companies are using social media websites as an information gateway in hiring and monitoring employee behavior. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are influential in the hiring process for employers, and can also result in termination if they see information that is not “appropriate employee behavior.” Employers monitor social networking sites for provocative or inappropriate photos, drinking and drug use, bad-mouthing coworkers and much more. They even measure your communication and creativity skills from monitoring your social networking sites.
While we all use our social networking sites to display information regarding our private life for friends and family, employers fear that proprietary information will be revealed over the web and they will be negatively represented in the online world. If you are looking for a job or currently employed, follow this list of Do’s and Don’ts to clean up your page and remain in the safety zone of social media.
- DO delete or hide anything on your profile that employers may view negatively. Remove pictures of spring break, vulgar comments or posts, rude language, and any commentary you may have posted about previous employers. Remember there is no sense of “free speech” that is regulated in social media. We’ve all heard the recent stories of New York teachers being fired for their online commentary of unruly classrooms and scandalous private lives. It can happen to anyone, so keep your private thoughts and comments about your job to yourself.
- DON’T use social networking sites to vent about your job. While you may need to talk about an overpowering boss or an arrogant coworker, never do it online. While you may think your page is private, a coworker that you forgot you “friended” could take the page directly to your employer. What you say online is permanent and is valid evidence that can be used against you in court and certainly by your employer or prospective employer.
- DO promote yourself socially and professionally online. Update your pages to show your creativity and work ethic. Write about accomplishments that you have made inside and outside of work. Include your interests and passions and your goals.
- DON’T post anything that could be incompatible with your work persona. For example, if you claim a disability or injury that alters your job responsibilities, refrain from posting pictures of you partaking in physical exercise. If you are claiming worker’s compensation, investigators will often look at your social media sites to ensure that they are consistent with your claims. An employer cannot discriminate against you because of disabilities, but you can be terminated if they unveil inconsistencies within your social media pages.