Student job-seekers need to be careful what they post, CSUF student finds

Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal

Students may need to reconsider how they use their social media profiles if they’re looking for a job. Based on research, 92 percent of job recruiters use social media at some point during the hiring process.

Han Tran, a student at California State University-Fullerton (CSUF), has conducted independent research to find more specific statistics and details on how often employers look at applying students’ social media accounts.

A 2015 study conducted by online recruiting website Jobvite showed that 92 percent of job recruiters use social media during the hiring process, with over half of employers saying they may reconsider an applicant based on their online profile. Sixty-one percent of those reconsiderations end negatively.

Three of the most common social media platforms employers look at include LinkedIn (92 percent), Facebook (66 percent) and Twitter (52 percent).

Georgia State’s Dean of Libraries, Jeff Steely, said that the library does not use social media profiles as a determining factor in whether or not a student will be hired, but that “students should assume that future employers will look to social media (and to online information in general) when making hiring decisions.”

When I am hiring, I want to know how a person thinks and how they present themselves,” Steeley said. “A social media profile that demonstrates a thoughtful, articulate, and positive person will often help a candidate. By contrast, an approach to social media which is careless, immature, or otherwise appears to fall outside the values of the organization could harm a candidate’s chances or, at the very least, require answering some difficult questions.”

According to The Orange County Register (OCR), Tran cited research stating that many employers today use social media as an inexpensive way to post job openings and look for prospective candidates. Recruiters included in the study believed that social media allows them to see an applicant’s true character and whether it coalesces with the company culture.

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Students doing work study programs or working within organizations at Georgia State may not be strictly regulated by written rule regarding what they post on social media, but are encouraged to remember the school they’re representing.

“The [Student Government Association] (SGA) does not have written rules for what members should not do on social media, but does strongly advise them to remember they are representing SGA,” Gail Sutton, SGA Advisor and Director, said.

Utilizing a 39-question survey, Tran sought to get an idea of how students manage and monitor their online profiles for career-oriented purposes. Tran invited 874 students at CSUF to take the survey and got complete responses from 105. She then invited 23 other colleges via Facebook to take the survey, which totaled 197 responses.

Madison McNair, a Georgia State student, said she manages her social media by monitoring her language and the images she posts.

“Even something like a picture on the beach can influence a company not to hire you,” McNair said. “My motto is if I’m not comfortable with my family seeing it then I shouldn’t post it.”

McNair is a junior journalism student that uses LinkedIn to record any accomplishments she’s made or to showcase jobs she’s had in the past. She created a Twitter account for career purposes, and uses social media to follow companies to see if jobs are available.

“A lot of millennials have the mindset that their social media is their platform so they can post ‘whatever they want,’” McNair said. “And while it is necessarily true, the company is the one hiring and paying you. So, if you make the decision to post things that are inappropriate, they can choose to not hire you.”