It’s no secret that social media can affect the way you feel. But can it also affect your professional life?
“He was 28 years old, hadan exceptional career record in sales and had created an excellent impression during the interview,” KavithaElamvaluthi, Key Account Manager in healthcare industry, Chennai talks of an acquaintance. “His last stage of interview was with the HR head – an old, Catholic lady. And she checked him up on Facebook. There she found his albums filled with pictures of a well-sculpted body adorned with tattoos. He was rejected.”Unfair, isn’t it? But it’s true. And that’s how many people get accepted or rejected when social media comes into picture. A study by Recruiter Nation Survey 2015 has revealed that 92 per cent of recruiters turn to social media while doing a background check on their candidates. And this social media is a tricky thing. It forms impressions and feeds biases. And it’s not just the omnipresent Facebook we are talking about. Your online presence these days sprawls across anything where you had ever registered. It all shows up as soon as your name is googled.
87 per cent recruiters turn to LinkedIn, 55 to Facebook and 47 to Twitter according to Recruiter Nation Survey 2015.
Employers these days are interested in knowing what the life of their potential candidate looks like. They need to know if the candidate has been involved with any public faceoff with their previous organisations or are in any kind of trouble. And in the age where smart brainpower is highly valued, you can’t really blame the recruiter, can you? Does that mean you stop speaking your heart out? No. It means you play smart and professional whenever on a social network.
Keep the balance
Facebook would seem like a favourite go-to when it comes to checking up on someone’s personal background. But employers are digging deeper. “Your presence on LinkedIn is important,” says Sumit Bhatia, Software Developer from Sydney, Australia. “Job portals are becoming a passé now and recruiters now flock to LinkedIn.”
So do not let Facebook reignyour social network. Spread over to other social networks that you think might be a rage in your industry. For example, Instagram and Flicker is a crucial platform for photographers, just as Twitter is for reviewers. LinkedIn though is becoming an all-rounder when it comes to hiring.
But just a registration on these networks isn’t all. Rather, if you don’t plan to stay updated it’s better to not register at all. But if you are keen on exploring these platforms then make it a point to opine on things and contribute to discussions happening on them. This gets you noticed.
No bitching, please!
Discussions on professional platforms are likely to steer towards your job. And naturally people will expect you to speak up about it. Hold your horses here. The way you represent your organisation will say a lot about your professionalism.
Social networks aren’t a place to crib. The grubby linen filled with grouses of over-time and unfair appraisal can be washed over private messages. An innocent grouse can snowball into a raging mud-slinging game on social networking platforms. And at the end of the day, that’s not what you want. More so when eyes of previous and future employers are hovering over your profile.
Keep it private
But then it’s difficult – fake, even – to filter all your online discussions through the prism of your employers. Use the privacy control at this time. Nowadays all social networking sites come with advanced level of settings where you can decide what a particular person on your list is or is not allowed to see.
Whenever you suspect that a social discussion can be misunderstood or misused in your professional world, turn on the privacy setting so not all are privy to your opinions.
Do not lie
Now there is a difference between keeping something private and lying. Yes, maybe you have the liberty to say what you want in private, but remember that you are still on a social platform. “Studies show that most close friends don’t let people lie on social media as they know the whole truth,” says Mozart Maxon, Assistant Manager at Aquaterra Adventures, New Delhi. “But people do get away with it.”
But the world is really small when it comes to these networks. And it is highly possible that your lie will catch up with you on social media.
“An intern once called in sick. And her employer found images of her on an outing on that day on social media,” says Simi Kuriakose, Fashion Writer at Hauterfly,Mumbai. “The intern was let go the next day.”
In the end keep in mind that social network is a double-edged sword. While it can flaunt your strengths, your weaknesses can also catch you off guarded here. So share, albeit with care.