Looking for a Job? Be Careful on Social Media

Man working at desk on laptop We all know that that once it’s out there, it’s out there forever. Of course, we’re talking about the internet and social media. Just as businesses have been looking into their prospective employees’ backgrounds by searching the internet for a long time now, medicine is starting to do the same. No longer are employers just looking at credentials, licensing, and CVs. Employees’ Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and blogs are being reviewed. While searching such information is not likely to be indicative of medical skills, it can be indicative of social skills and emotional intelligence. And, quite simply, it can let employers know if the applicant might be a potential embarrassment or “loose cannon.” One recruiter, sited in an AMedNews article on the topic, views a potential employee’s social media like a credit report.

Every health care provider should do search on themselves and see what comes up –so they can either be prepared to do damage control or work to remove the problematic posts.

Here are some things to consider:

“Degrees of Offensiveness.” The article talks about degrees of offensiveness. Just because there is a picture of you at a party doesn’t mean that you will be passed over for the position. Many employers understand that employees are real people with social lives. Employers are looking for offensive photos and information –images that can potentially embarrass the company or information that can clue the company in to behavior that might play out in the workplace –like racism.

The more important the position, the deeper the social media search. Understandably, the higher the position, the more a potential employee should be prepared to be scrutinized.

Be aware of your rights. In eight states, it is illegal for an employer to require an applicant to provide a personal user name and password to a social media account. Find out what is legal/illegal in your state.

What if you’re not on social media? Could that actually HURT you? This might be one of those situations where you simply can’t win –it could be a knock against you if you are on social media, but it could also be a knock against you if you aren’t. Some employers might view potential candidates who aren’t on social media as lacking tech savvy.

If you are an employer, thinking about doing a background search on a potential employee, the article recommends to do it very carefully: have the Human Resources Department conduct the search or hire a professional third-party screener that is familiar with the state’s laws to do it.

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