Today’s employers don’t have to rely on your references to find out what kind of person you are. They can just search for you online. Here are four common things employers look for while they search for your potential skeletons-in-the-closet.
1. Comments About Your Job
Many companies keep an eye on what their employees write online. Posting something negative about your job on Facebook or in a blog could put you in hot water. It could even get you fired.
One snarky barista in Georgetown, WA lost his job after his employer discovered that he had published comments about customers and management online. His boss presumably fired him for posting comments while working, but it seems pretty likely that he didn’t like what had been written about him.
A waiter at California Pizza Kitchen also claimed that he lost his job for complaining online about the restaurant’s uniforms. If you’re going to post comments about work, you should make sure you use a pseudonym to protect your identity. Even then, you run a risk.
2. What You Do Away From Work
Image via Flickr by Guerretto
Employers can also use social media to make sure you aren’t giving them a bad name during your day off. It hardly matters what kind of job you have. Employers don’t want to find evidence of things like drug use, excessive drinking, illegal activities, or crassness.
Consider that Gilbert Gottfried lost his job as the Aflac duck’s voice when he tweeted jokes about the 2011 tsunami that ravaged Japan. It took the company about an hour to kick him to the curb.
Some employers avoid these investigations because they worry about the legality of firing someone for anything other than job performance. Apparently some companies disagree. You can play it safe by watching videos by Reputation.com that will help you learn how to clean up your online image.
3. Job Experience and Education
Social networking profiles often list a person’s work and educational history. It’s easy for employers to compare your résumé with this information. If they suspect that you didn’t actually earn that degree in business or that you didn’t leave your last job amicably, then they might choose to give a position to someone who looks more legitimate.
4. Talents That They Can Use
Employers aren’t always looking for a reason to fire you. Sometimes they research current employees to learn more about their talents and skills. That way, they can get more out of their workers.
Just because you were hired for one job doesn’t mean that the company wants to keep you there. If human resources finds out that you frequently post insightful comments about things like computer programming, technology, or communications, then they might recruit you for a different position. After all, it often makes more sense to promote someone from within than spend the time and money hunting for a new person.
If you work in HR, explain why you do or do not use social media when researching employees. Have you ever found useful information that made you think differently about one of your workers?
Guest post by Amanda Brown