Companies research applicants through social networking sites

By Eryn Geary

Facebook. Twitter. MySpace.

Social networking sites have become the popular way to communicate and network.

These sites allow large amounts of information to be shared with just about anyone. They might be great for a group of friends, but are not such a good thing for professionals.

Employers are now making their own profiles to look up potential employees. With this tool, they can find information they could never find before.

Dr. Keith Absher, dean of the McAfee School of Business Administration and professor of marketing, said for an employee to post on Facebook that he or she is ready to leave work is a bad reflection on him or her.

“The kinds of things you are saying and the kinds of things your friends are saying can be easily looked at,” Absher said. “You don’t want to set yourself up for a bad situation.”

Absher said pictures and friends’ pictures could make a potential employee look bad. He advised students to delete or block anyone who could be a threat to getting hired.

On the other hand, social networking sites, which Absher compared to a second resume, could benefit job-seekers.

“You can turn social networking into a real marketing piece for you as a future employee,” Absher said.

Jamison Ball, senior business administration major, said too much information is posted on people’s profiles today.

“It is important that we monitor our social media profiles because sometimes we, or even others, post things that aren’t necessarily bad but can be misinterpreted if taken in the wrong context,” Ball said.

Jacqueline Taylor, director of career services and assistant dean of students, said the National Association of Colleges and Employees indicates that social networking has caused problems for college graduates in acquiring jobs.

“It is imperative students understand the weight employers now place on social networking profiles in their hiring decisions,” Taylor said.

Many students may not understand the consequences of posting negative things on their profiles.  Anything posted can be found by anyone.

“Negative comments about current or previous employers, friends, family members or faculty are reasons why many candidates are not pursued for hiring,” Taylor said. “Such postings reveal negativity in attitude or disposition of the candidate and often reveal a flawed character.”

Students should be aware of the information they allow the public and employers to see.

“The most important thing for students to remember is that social networking profiles are an extension of who we are in person,” Taylor said. “The goal is not to hide the self but to reveal the self truthfully.”

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.