Moran: Social media helps, hurts career outlook

Ben Moran

Large chains and small business alike gain many advantages by using social media. Not only does it help with advertising, but it allows customers to connect with them as well. On top of this, it also gives employers a chance to monitor who they hire or have hired.

Every business should be screening its employees’ social media accounts. CareerBuilder, a website dedicated to finding jobs, reports that 2 in 5 employers use social media screening. 

As an employer, you would like your business to thrive. One of the easiest ways to do this is by creating a positive chain of reviews.

In most cases, if a business has an exceptional staff, customers will continue to come back. But a lackluster staff will slowly eat away at the company’s image in the public eye.

For example, when I was a senior in high school, I worked at Hillside Grille Steakhouse in Denison, Iowa. It was a very unique restaurant for the area, and it had a great atmosphere and great food. I loved working there, but over time I noticed a tension that would grow among the employees.

This wasn’t because anyone disliked each other but because sometimes one of the employee’s posts or statuses on social media would be seen by the staff. Depending on the severity of the post, it would either bring about a slight problem or an uproar among the entire staff.

Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a common occurrence, and I highly recommended this restaurant. But when it did happen customers would notice because employees would be in a different state of mind.

Some nights we could have had better service but, because of the looming status on the staff’s minds, it wasn’t up to par. Overall though, this is a great restaurant.

As an employer I believe they have a right to know what their staff is posting on social media.

When you work for a business, you are a representative for it. What you do inside and outside the workplace reflects back on the business. Because of this, employers are beginning to screen applicants more frequently.

A study by Forbes showed that of the 89 percent of job seekers who use social media, 34 percent won’t get hired because of what was found on their social media accounts. This ranges from provocative or inappropriate photos to candidates lying about qualifications.

On the other hand, in a study done by CareerBuilder, 19 percent of employers ended up hiring someone because of social media. The overall reason as to why social media helped was because the candidate conveyed a professional image on social media. 

So you want a job as hospital receptionist? Sorry, that picture of you half naked, boozing it up with your friends last month didn’t help your chances. You had a good interview, but your social media just had too many strikes against you.

This is becoming a common occurrence in today’s society and for good reason. Take teaching for example — one of the most important professions. Teachers are supposed to encourage students and help them grow as a person.

As of late, dozens of scandals have surfaced regarding teachers using social media, such as Facebook or Snapchat, inappropriately. Why should we allow teachers to use social media without boundaries? We shouldn’t.

Teachers should be accountable for what they post, and their social media should be professional. Social media can be used as a great tool to connect with students, but, just like any other job, you represent who you are employed for.

This is the key — you are a representative of the business you work for. If social media represents who you are, and you represent your place of work, then your social media can represent your place of work. Stay classy because you might not know when it helps or hurts you.