Watch what you post online, it could hurt your job hunt

Watch what you post online, it could hurt your job hunt
The Your Keyboard Your Career campaign aims to educate young people on how they can avoid harming their careers with stuff posted online.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Posting inappropriate photos of yourself online, like a snap with friends while on a drinking binge, can affect your chances of getting hired.

A team of four final-year students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) found that more than half of 300 students aged 18 to 25 surveyed have been posting what employers may consider inappropriate content on social media.

This was part of a campaign called Your Keyboard Your Career, by students Lee Jia Min, 24, Rachel Phua, 22, Namreena Samtani, 23, and Nuramira Shadrina, 24, for their final-year project.

Miss Lee told The New Paper: "As a user of social media, I understand how easy it is to post something online."

The undergraduates aim to use the campaign to educate young people on how they can avoid harming their careers with stuff posted online.

Inappropriate content, based on a survey by JobsCentral in 2012, includes drinking or using drugs, bad mouthing previous companies or colleagues and posting provocative photos or information.

The JobsCentral survey, involving 396 hiring managers and human resource personnel, found that three in four employers in Singapore screen the social media accounts of potential candidates before hiring staff.

Head-hunting and human resource experts told TNP the NTU survey was a good reminder for undergraduates to watch what they post online.

Mr Francis Chng, headhunter, career coach and co-founder of training school The Candidate School, told TNP he would screen an applicant's social media if he had a reason to do so.

Mr Chng, whose clients are mostly in the technology sector, said: "For example, if during the job interview, the candidate claims he is an extrovert, but doesn't appear like one, such as being low on energy or not communicative, it prompts me to have a reason to verify via social media."

He said he would look at a candidate's choice of words as well, such as common use of vulgarities and Singlish, and if there is a behavioural pattern to their posts and comments.

He said: "Candidates are free to post what they want, but they should remember they can't control the perception of others about their posts."

The president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute, Mr Erman Tan, said candidates should be more cautious with what they post, as it may not reflect their real intentions.

He told TNP: "For example if there's a serious accident in which lives are lost, and you comment on it saying it's fortunate that you weren't there, some may perceive it as you having no empathy."

This article was first published on Mar 06, 2017.
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