How does your Facebook page reflect you?


You might want to think twice before uploading those photos. Facebook and other social media websites are reshaping the hiring process and your future employers may have your personal life at their fingertips.

By Cedar Goslin
Information contributed by Lauren Hamlin

The days of what you wear to the job interview making an impression are dwindling. The availability of information on Facebook meets the constantly growing demand by employers for information on their potential employees, according to Andria Woodell, a psychology professor at Central Oregon Community College.
“Employers are asking for more and more information,” said Woodell.
However, looking at an applicant’s Facebook profile could pose a liability to a hiring company, according to “How Much Can Potential Employers Ask About You?”—a report aired on National Public Radio.
By law, certain questions can’t be asked during a job interview, including those involving sexual orientation and marital status. Employers could potentially find out this information by looking at the applicant’s Facebook profile, which opens the door for lawsuits, according to the article.
Woodell said this risk is stopping some employers from using social media during their hiring process, but not all of them.
“Some are hesitant, but others are actually doing it,” said Woodell.


Set Your Profile to Private

It’s best to assume that employers will try to look at your online profile, according to Woodell. The most important thing, according to Woodell, is to keep up on Facebook’s constantly changing privacy settings to make sure that your profile is staying private.
“If you don’t set your profile to private you’re asking for it,” said Woodell. “That’s almost like inviting them to look at your private life.”


Be Careful Who You Add

On Facebook it can be tempting to add everyone you know, so you can get as many “friends” as possible— after all, that’s what social networking is for. However, Woodell suggested that Facebook users should be selective about who they “friend,” otherwise they might compromise their current job or future employment chances. Facebook users tend to post updates without thinking them through, so “friending” co-workers and employers can be a disaster waiting to happen.
“Workers have been fired for venting [about their jobs] on Facebook,” said Woodell.
Students should also use caution when choosing who to allow on their Facebook profile; they should usually avoid “friending” professors.

Don’t Upload Questionable Content

Because there’s always the possibility that employers will see your profile, Facebook users should avoid content that makes them look unprofessional. Uploading pictures of wild parties can make an applicant look like an unworthy candidate for a job.
“Employers won’t want to hire irresponsible workers,” said Woodell.” And even if you’re not … those pictures may make you look that way.”
Even if your profile is private, anyone can look at your profile picture, which is enough to create an impression.
“[Employers] have the right to make judgements based off what you present,” said Woodell. “If you have a picture of yourself chugging beer, that’s going to be reflective of your character.”


How you present yourself impacts how people see you

Your profile picture can make all the difference, according to an experiment conducted by Elizabeth Daniels, OSU assistant professor of psychology. She created two different Facebook profiles, one with a picture of a girl dressed in a low-cut top, the other with a picture of the same girl dressed conservatively. In her study group of teen girls and young women between ages 13 and 25, most of the girls Daniels asked thought that the girl who was dressed conservatively looked more attractive, more competent, and was someone they would prefer to be friends with.
Daniels will be speaking about her study and the pressure young girls experience to portray themselves as sexy in her presentation titled “Self- Presentation on Facebook: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.”
The presentation will take place on June 4 at 3:30, in Ochoco room 204.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Social media doesn’t have to be professionally harmful, according to Eric Magidson, a Computer Information Systems instructor at COCC.
“If you’re marketing, you do it like a business … the business of social media,” said Magidson.
Tips include:
1. Set up a professional social networking account with a neutral profile picture.
2. Post appropriately—no negative comments about employers, co-workers or clients.
3. Change your privacy settings—the most important step, according to Magidson.
”It takes just a few minutes to change your profile from being completely open to everyone, to limiting all content to a select few of your friends,” said Magidson.


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