Looking for a job? Don’t expect privacy. (COM0011, Post #1)

Will social media determine your next job? Chances are, it will affect your possibilities more than you may think.

Employers are increasingly looking to social media to determine an applicant’s suitability for a position. A large number of people are fired not because they “…didn’t have the requisite skills, but because their personalities clashed with the company’s culture,” says a recent BBC article (http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29343425).

So I’m wondering how this affects what people say and do online. Are we really being honest about who we are, if we know that future employers will probably review and assess everything. Will social media simply become a self-promotion tool, biased towards those who are more active on its channels and more conscious of the tactics used by recruiters? Can we really build solid relations with people online when we routinely censure and tailor our online communications?

More young people trade privacy for employability

With young people finding it harder to find work, do teenagers understand the consequences their actions on social media can have in the long term?

According to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Said Business School (http://pwc.blogs.com/files/future-of-work-report-1.pdf), “more than a third of the young workers surveyed said they were happy for their employer to monitor their status updates and tweets in return for greater job security,” (http://theconversation.com/new-generation-is-happy-for-employers-to-monitor-them-on-social-media-30635).

Does this reflect a desperation in our current climate of employment, or are those young people the clever ones, already censuring and tailoring their social media life to future employers?

Employers rely on algorithms and games

I also wonder if employers, many of whom are using algorithms to filter applicants, are seeing the big picture.

“Try the following for yourself: take a moment to think about the long and winding trails of personal data that weave together to form the digital tapestry that you and others create for yourself online. Now, imagine the implications that might arise from allowing your employer to surreptitiously unpick each of these strands in isolation, with little or no knowledge of the context in which they occurred,” (http://theconversation.com/new-generation-is-happy-for-employers-to-monitor-them-on-social-media-30635).

A related point in the BBC article asks whether leaving it to algorithms may bring an employer the same kind of people, when some variety may be good for an organization.

Some companies have developed games to analyze applicants’ suitability, but I think that at least some clever people will learn how to play these, just like some people know how to swing an interview. This brings us back to the original problem of finding someone who is truly a good fit. And what if you’re just good at playing games?

So many questions, and from what I can see, few answers so far. I just hope that employers don’t start overlooking CVs and interviews completely. Actually, I wish that they couldn’t monitor our online lives at all, but that’s probably not going to happen in my lifetime.

3 thoughts on “Looking for a job? Don’t expect privacy. (COM0011, Post #1)

  1. I have to say I feel really conflicted about my employer, or future employers, having access to my online presence. While I don’t necessarily have anything to hide, and being a little older, I definitely do not have scandalous photos on FB or anything of that sort. I do however like the idea of having work and home separate. Knowing that my employer sees what I do on the weekend through FB photos or tweets just feels a little too close to home.

    My sister, who is about 5 years younger than me, already uses social media to brand herself. Her online self is quite different than her “real” self because she definitely hides a lot of who she is. She is very specific in what she communicates online and how she communicates it. I am sure there are a lot of the younger generation that don’t care but there definitely seems to be the other extreme as well.

    I am just glad that I am not just starting out in my career… I can’t imagine the time, effort and energy required to, in essence, maintain multiple resumes!

    L. Moore

  2. I too wish that your social media life could be separate from your work life. My posts on my facebook account are pretty close to who I am, however, I do think about what I post. Just in case. I have my privacy settings so that only friends can see what I post, but they change the settings so often, I am always nervous that someone might be able to see my full page. Linked in is where I think you need to be professional and represent yourself in a way that you feel you want an employer to see you.

    I also think that it is awful for employers to limit your personal presence on social media, but they do. At my last job, we had to sign a social media policy that we understood that if we posted anything that was seen as “not appropriate”, we could be disciplined at work. Yes, disciplined. And there was no definition or criteria of what was considered to be inappropriate. It was a judgement call from our board of directors or the ED. It made you very careful and guarded about what you put up. Something I find funny, others might find offensive and not appropriate to their vision of how you should be seen in the community when you were an employee of the charity. It is not going to get better. I think the reign from employers to employees will tighten and that speaks to the privacy issues. If facebook keeps on changing what people can see, they might see competition on the rise. I checked out Ello’s beta version and it will be interesting to see if it moves in and takes something away from Facebook.

  3. Great post!

    I agree with the comments made. The lines of private life and public life are becoming more and more blurred. It used to be okay to complain about a bad day at work to friends and family. Now you even have to consider who you’re speaking to, or who is around you. I’ve caught myself looking over my shoulder all the time to see who could be listening.

    Many employers use social media as part of a screening process for interviews, and I’m kind of split on it. It’s a tricky debate.

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