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Social media shown to effect employment opportunities
With the tap of a screen, the click of a button, or the swipe of a monitor, you can find out what people
are doing, what people have done and any detail in between—all through their social media accounts.
Though this may be convenient in some cases, it can also be dangerous in the case of employment.
Ginger Lange, assistant director of the Career Center at Grand Valley State University, acknowledged
the fact that information shared online could have severe real-life consequences.
“Just last week, I was talking to an employer who was completely ready to hire someone before they
came to an interview who changed their mind, due to a post they saw from the person as they were
driving to the interview,” Lange said. “It just goes to show that what you say on Facebook and Twitter
really does impact your life outside of the computer.”
From a statistical angle, Twitter now has more than 500 million registered users worldwide,
generating about 500 million unregulated tweets per day. Facebook has more than 1.1 billion active
users worldwide. With statistics like these, there is more than a small chance that employees will be
sharing their lives, thoughts, photos, videos and opinions with anyone who shows the slightest
This being said, the question can be asked as to whether employers have the opportunity to learn too
much about a possible employee.
An increasing number of states have recently passed laws that prohibit employers from obtaining
passwords to a job applicant’s social media accounts—a treasure trove of information that potential
employers will not find on an application or learn about during an interview. From one simple scan of
a profile, an employer can find out information regarding relationships, religious beliefs and weekend
hobbies—if you post it.
Along with company employees, many young adults are also taking notice of this new technological
threat. While they may be irresponsible with their online publishing, they are also aware of the risks
that go along with social media.
“I definitely think what you post online can impact you when looking for a job,” freshman Chelsea
Michaelec said. “With social media being so popular, I think the rule of thumb should be: if I don’t
want my boss to see it, I shouldn’t post it regardless of privacy settings.”
On the other hand—good or bad—social media presents a sort of advertisement for businesses. With
some individuals spending most of their online time on networking sites, these simple posts
commenting on work environment or business quality are reaching more people than ever. That being
said, this provides yet another reason for possible employers to screen a profile.
“I would recommend not publishing posts degrading previous employers or establishments,” Lange
said. “People are going to see this and judge based off of previous behavior.”