With the advent of Myspace and Facebook and Twitter and the like, social networking has become embedded in American life and in the mainstream. When I used to get online back in the mid nineties, most people thought sharing your life online was weird and unsafe. Now everyone is reporting where they are and what they are doing at any given time. But as we move to report anything and everything that is happening personally to us, employers are getting hip to the code.
During one of my previous positions, I was a hiring manager for a local call center. My job was to recruit and hire seasoned employees who could meet the quotas and provide optimum customer support to our clients. While hiring, I also conducted reference checks. As I started getting more embedded into social networking, I also began looking on social networks for my would-be employees.
In the interview process, people usually tell you what you want to hear. But on social networks, you get a true picture of what people are really like. Did I base my hiring decisions solely on what I found online? No. But at the same time, glancing at a Facebook page, a Myspace profile, or a Twitter page can reflect the true personality of an individual. Are they hostile? Are they a complainer? Are they a team player? These are important facts to know when hiring.
So please keep in mind while you are tapping into social networks, your usage can have an affect on your job search. More and more employers are looking at these pages to get a more well rounded view of the candidate.
On Twitter and Facebook, you can set your page to private, but some of your tweets and information can still be searched on Google. If you want to be truly incognito online, do not use your real name on any social networking site. No real name, no way for employers to search. Be smart when utilizing social networks and be mindful that the world is watching, regardless of how many online friends or followers you have. Social networking is a great way to communicate, but be aware of how you may come across. Good luck with your job search!