Social Media and the Impact on Jobs (February 17, 2011)

Posted: February 17, 2011 by Mike Hubbartt in Academia
Tags: , , , , ,

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

I had one interview a couple of years ago where an interviewer Googled me and found a review I wrote about ColdFusion. Half way through the interview (after explaining his company used software that was way beyond support by the original vendor), he read a couple of paragraphs from my ColdFusion review – this is what I wrote (and he read to me):

Like many Consultants, I’ve worked at a wide variety of clients during my career. Some clients used cutting edge technology that met or exceeded their business needs, and the greatest challenge with those projects was either company politics or getting approval for the hardware needed for the applications. While tough, the technology was interesting and those are usually the most fun places to work.

Then there are clients that choose to limp along on some underpowered and inappropriate tool or deprecated programming language written many years earlier that miraculously works because of constant nursing and continuous patching by some tired and unappreciated developer. Those companies rarely understand the costs of moving to modern technology and it is a frustrating situation for any developer to deal with, but unfortunately this is experienced far too often in the business world.

After reading my comments, he asked why I’d want to work for his company since they use old, unsupported software. I said I stood by my comments because developers prefer to work with technologies that are at least supported by the vendors, and that using something so old that it required an old, unsupported version of operating system was dangerous. Would that mean I didn’t want to work with his product? No. But I did feel (and suggested) he move forward to a modern version of the application and a modern version of operating system still supported by the vendor.

Why is this relevant? My review appeared in a magazine in the UK 1.5 years before I was interviewed, and when I wrote it I didn’t think future employers would be interested in tracking down everything I’ve written. I have published a lot of pieces in print and online publications, so there are many places for people to look if they really want to see my style and opinions, but it still took me unaware during the interview.

In current times, we have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, and other social media sites where people can and do vent about life, work, and personal situations. Now companies have caught up with the widespread use of social media, so it is important to be aware that more than your intended audience may read what you write, and that could affect current or future job opportunities.

Last night, we met for our second Advanced Web Application Development class and one of the students gave a talk on social media and how it is perceived by companies. His presentation highlighted the facts that employers are aware when employees make negative comments about the company or their bosses, and they can legally do something about it. Recently I spoken with recruiters that advised I remove any negative remarks from any Facebook, Tweeter, LinkedIn or blog entries, as they see more and more companies pre-screening applicants. I was told there are now powerful tools employers use to search for social media content, and they are interested in the way people act and speak around their friends.

Today I received an email from a consulting company that addresses Social Media and want to share it with you, as it is very good and quite appropriate for employed and unemployed workers. Click here to access and download the PDF. This presentation is excellent and well worth the time to read.

You lose control of content distribution when you publish something on the internet. While searching for myself, I’ve come across things I wrote for print magazines in the late 80s, which is ‘way before the internet. If you wrote for a print magazine, someone may like it enough to scan in and post for others to see, so please be careful what you write.

– Mike

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