Employers paying more attention to social media - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Employers paying more attention to social media

Employers are looking at more than your resume and application Employers are looking at more than your resume and application

Eight-hundred million people are on Facebook. Like the car or the telephone, it's become a fact of life, but unlike previous technology, how you use Facebook can keep you from getting a job or can cause you to lose the one you already have.

Potential employers are not only looking at applicants Facebook pages, but they have gone as going as far as asking for an applicant's password.

"So many people use the Internet, and particularly social media, as a way to explain who and what they are to the world that it would be foolish not to check," said Director or Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity at the University of Southern Mississippi, Becky Woodrick.

Checking social media like Facebook is exactly what some employers are doing. Woodrick, says she trains search committees to look beyond the application.

"Reference checking via the Internet for our applicants," said Woodrick.

Woodrick says searching for information on potential employees through the Internet or Facebook is a due diligence review of all applicants, but she says asking for a password to a person's Facebook page is crossing a line.

"It's an invasion of privacy. We do not go to those lengths," said Woodrick.

Woodrick says she does not ask for passwords, but does not decline them if they are offered.

"If an applicant has information that he wants the search committee to consider that's on Facebook he or she can choose to give that information," said Woodrick.  

Web Manager David McRaney says even if you not willing to give up your password any information on the web is not truly private.

"It is very common for people to lose their job or to not be hired because of whatever they have floating around the Internet. Young people should be aware that when you post something online it stays there forever and its going to be public eventually," said McRaney.

So how do the individuals who are months away from entering the job market feel about their Facebook page potentially deciding their career path?

"That's still not something I feel like an employer would need from me, I guess. What would they be hoping to find? Because that is why the work life is the work life, and the personal life is the personal life. Facebook is for personal life," said Senior at the University of Southern Mississippi, Jeremiah Strickland.

"I feel like there is a line of privacy, but also feel like when you hire somebody that is just something that these days you have to ask for," said University of Southern Mississippi Graduate Student, Keona Anderson.

So hand in your resume and application, but keep in mind for employers it doesn't stop there.

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