Some people prefer to keep their online identities separate from their real-world experiences, especially their professional lives. Unfortunately, many of us can't stay away from our devices.

In fact, the 21st century's birth of social media has brought about a new set of mental disorders and conditions.

Since the turn of the millennia, a new fleet of illnesses has surfaced such as Phantom Ringing Syndrome (thinking the phone is ringing when it's not), Nomophobia (the fear of being without a smart device), and other side effects ranging from cybersickness to dependence issues. 

Despite the shocking levels of connectivity that we see today, social media has revolutionized the idea of keeping up appearances. For better or worse, people have a desire to share content on the web, but could these urges be doing more harm than good in the workplace? 

Social Media Firing & Hiring

Ten years ago, Facebook was half a decade old, and social media's reach and influence in the hiring process was yet to be seen. Today, a new study conducted by The Interview Guys revealed the extent of social media's impact on employees. More often than not, our digital footprint is now seen as a mirror into our personalities:

  • 1 in 3 people surveyed know someone whose employer fires employees based on social media conduct
  • 2 in 5 employees say their own company is strict about their social media usage outside of work

Regardless, many employees are still torn about social media's role in the workplace:

  • Roughly 1 in 3 are in favor of employers conducting social media screenings
  • 1 in 10 have surrendered personal social media information to an employer during the hiring process

In many regards, your social media footprint can leave more of an impression than even your resume. Currently, there's no real standard on what behavior or posts should be deemed too inappropriate by potential employers.

A more conservative boss may take offense to a candidate whose social media profiles may imply that someone is a partier or a loose cannon when it comes to posting -- whereas a progressive hiring manager may not be as concerned with someone's online persona as much as their direct work qualifications. 

Social media has enabled employers to have more accountability over applicants, as it can be much easier to vet someone's qualifications, education, or credentials thanks to Facebook and other networking sites. People reveal more than they think on social media, and what we choose to share may be seen by our future employers.

The Internet's Place in our Personalities

There are many reasons why someone would want to keep their social media accounts a secret from their coworkers and employers. Many people are staunch supporters of digital privacy and freedom. Others simply prefer to keep a solid work-life split and don't think it's appropriate to be "friending" your workers or bosses on social media.

Regardless of personal reasons, social media's role in how we get hired is apparent. There has been a shift in focus as our profile preferences continue to be integrated with our past experiences and current skill set.

The real question becomes whether we should appease the masses to attract potential employers or continue to take advantage of our online freedom. What do you think?

Published on: Nov 22, 2019
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