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Pro: Social-media check offers employers insight into applicants

By ALLISON MILES
May 6, 2012 at 12:06 a.m.


See what others have to say Con: Viewing applicants' accounts crosses privacy boundaries

THE ISSUE

From shining up that resume to punching up those interview skills and making sure the attire is just right for the occasion, there's a lot that goes into applying for work.

And in today's increasingly computer-centric world, online presence is something else to think about.

More and more employers delve into candidates' social media profiles during hiring and while some say it's a way to learn more about a person, others say it is overstepping boundaries.

Here, Crossroads residents weigh in.

In the past, criminal background checks, credit checks and the like were the tools employers used to assist in hiring.

While the methods are still relevant, today's digital age means social media can be just as effective.

A look at job applicants' public social media profiles can offer important insight, some employers say.

Careerbuilder.com released a survey from 2009 that showed 45 percent of employers polled used social media sites to screen potential employees. Of those, 29 percent used Facebook, 26 percent used LinkedIn, 21 looked at MySpace, 7 percent used Twitter and 11 percent looked to blogs.

Carole Kolle, director of Workforce Solutions of the Golden Crescent, agreed the practice has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Not only does it offer insight into candidates' personalities and people they associate with, but it shows a more honest representation of who they are. Some people are professional interviewers, she said, explaining they know what employers want to hear and act accordingly at interviews.

Kolle warned job seekers to remember that first impressions count and that impression might come from glances at Facebook profiles.

"Just be cautious about what you put out there," she said.

Jackie Dechert, a Victoria resident and Lowe's Home Improvement employee, said she knew of too many people who logged into Facebook to rant about work and bash their employers. With such behavior out there, she said, it's only natural for employers to check in on people they're considering bringing on board.

"You wouldn't want to hire someone who might turn around and say the same things about you or your company," she said, noting it could tarnish a company's reputation. "I think they should be checking online."

University of Houston-Victoria student Kevin Walker isn't active on Facebook, but agreed that companies had the right to view public profiles. After all, he said, it's information people willingly put out there about themselves.

"If you have the chance to see who you're dealing with, why wouldn't you?" he asked about employers. "I think it's a good thing."

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