- Companies use social media to find job candidates.
- Companies use social media profiles to weed out weak candidates.
- Companies use social media to terminate workers who break company policy on what workers can say and write in public.
Candidates who get high marks as job applicants often market themselves with a polished public profile on social media. These candidates list their accomplishments. They include a profile picture. The candidates who are successful in using social media to advance their careers make positive statements about themselves, about situations, and about other people. Candidates who get high marks avoid conflicts with other people on the Internet.
Companies want to hire people who will focus on the job. Companies do not want to hire people who can create tension in the workplace through open discussions about politics, race, religion, gender, or any issue in conflict with company policy. These types of people create distractions for other workers, take the focus off the function of the company, and can damage a company’s public image.
Discussions of politics, race, gender, or religion put readers in a position to take sides. These discussions affect the unity of teams. Companies want to hire people who will inspire other people to focus on the job.
Some people confuse social media with journalism. Journalists for some publications make their money by writing about things that polarize people. The people who read those publications usually have views that are consistent with the point of view of the publication.
In social media, however, people have varying points of view. Using social media to promote your career requires you to focus on polished information that will attract everyone to read what you have to say. Not everyone is going to read what you have to say when you write about polarizing issues.
College applicants face the same evaluation process. The New York Times© has an article that discusses how universities are screening college applicants based on their social media posts. College applicants can get low marks for posting links to controversial websites, or writing about political, religious, gender, or racial issues. Even if the admissions department agrees with the applicant’s point of view, colleges and universities avoid negative or polarizing points of view that can cost an institution money and damage its reputation.
Internet media contains countless articles on the hazards social media poses to careers. ScienceDaily© has an article that discusses the facts that a person’s Facebook post could cost the person a job offer. The article also discusses cases of current employees who have lost jobs over statements they have made in social media. Kaplan Test Prep Survey©: “More College Admissions Officers Checking Applicants’ Digital Trails…” is another article on universities and colleges using social media for screening college applications.
However, I continue to see social media posts from educated professionals who apparently just have to make statements that polarize people with different points of view. Making the mistake of treating social media as a soapbox is easy to do, but certainly not always wise.