Social Media…Benefit or Liability?

by Anne Middleton, on February 24th, 2015
monster like keyboard

You confidently strut into your interview and are greeted by a handsome executive clad in a luminous white shirt and perfectly pressed suit, sporting a silk tie and pocket square. 

You smile and hold out your hand to engage in a strong, yet not overwhelming handshake when this coiffed male specimen queries you, “Nice to meet you. Has your rash from your spider bite been cured?”

You stand motionless in silence with your mouth open down to your knees and your outstretched arm dangling in space, feeling exposed.

How the heck does this potential future boss of yours have such in depth knowledge of your personal life?

monster businessman phone

Welcome to the new age of social media and the hiring process.

Social Media’s Influence
Currently, there are 1.35 billion social media junkies worldwide that habitually update their Facebook page with photos, commentaries and delicate personal information.

Yes, we said 1.35 billion with a “b.” That means if Facebook were a country, its population would equal all the people residing within the borders of China!

In this wonky world of over-sharing we should not be startled to ascertain that posting our intimate thoughts and detailing our every action can have long reaching repercussions.

Why do we tolerate our lives to become an open on-line book?

There is an ensemble of sleuths at Boston University who are fascinated with 21st century social network behavior patterns.  These whiz kids believe that human beings engage in Facebook to quench the primal need to belong to a community.  But most of us regard Twitter, Facebook and other digital sites as simply entertaining and a pleasant method for exchanging ideas with our buddies, family and acquaintances.

Think again. Facebook has far-reaching influences on an assortment of life’s in-person interactions.  And that includes making an impression on potential bosses.

monster girl upset at computer

What to Do?
Reoccurring social media exposure may produce some private, unwelcome truths in the public arena.  Monster.com delivers words of wisdom for managing your social media profile. Be sure to drop by their comprehensive employment website.

Don’t learn the hard way…it is a budding trend for personal social pages to be scrutinized and even exploited by career recruiting agencies and in-house hiring departments. An expanding number of company officials preach, “out with the standard resume and in with the social media analysis.”

But well-intentioned analysis occasionally ignores sensibility. A Stanford Professor recently designed computer software to predict personality traits by analyzing what a person "likes" on Facebook.

For example this wacky model suggested that:
• People who like Shakespeare were more "artistic."
• People who liked Ford Motor Company and/or Rush Limbaugh were more conventional.
• Liking boxing was a sign of being organized.
• And individuals who find vampires stimulating are more spontaneous.

monster vampire with soda

The bizarre data collection program remains in a testing phase and the good news is that interviewees must bequeath permission to permit entry into their Facebook forum.

However, applaud or distrust this concept, social media activity has completely transformed the process that corporations practice to screen potential employees. Make no mistake about it, the hiring process has moved full throttle into the world of digital information.

So whether it's a Facebook video of a cat jumping through snow or a photo your family in a food fight, clicking the “like” button may influence you job offer and interview opportunities.  And don’t be flabbergasted if a manager greets you with a personal tidbit you trusted he would never uncover.

Holy moly, this could get awkward.