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.