Social Network Effects on Career Essay Sample

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Research has demonstrated the effects of social networking can either hinder or assist with advancement on career success. However, empirical studies have demonstrated how social networking websites can influence others’ evaluation of job candidates. Much peered-reviewed literature indicates others’ judgments of characteristics or attributes of a potential employment candidate are based on information obtained from social networking sites. Often times, the evaluations gathered from networking working sites by employers about the candidate may be accurate. The Internet has changed hiring practices; however, the use of social networking sites used for recruiting, hiring or terminating an individual are relatively new. This study provides sample data to demonstrate the impact of social networking effects on career.

A study by W. C. Jacobsen and R. Forste postulates that little is known about the influence electronic media use has on the academic and social lives of university students. Their study, titled The wired generation: academic and social outcomes of electronic media use among university students, suggests there is a “negative relationship between the use of various types of electronic media and first-semester grades… [and] a positive association between social-networking-site use, cellular-phone communication, and face-to-face social interaction.” This positive association demonstrates the possible skills our “wired generation” has industrialized in order to gain employment opportunities. However, due to the recently increased involvement of many employers searching through social networking sites to determine recruitment, hiring or termination, the negative impact of electronic media usage on grades can be metaphorically compared to the impact on career effects. Social networking has its positives, but many in the technologically wired generation have yet to learn the dire consequences of naïve, negative self-publicity on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, among others.

Using Facebook as our only medium, we present several violations addressing the negative effects illicit comments, compromising pictures, concerning networking “friends”, and misleading personal information have on potential employment opportunities. The importance of the present study is to highlight employment violations that are organizationally relevant and available in social networking sites. Employers often seek information from job applicants to determine suitability in their organizations. Some employers might try and learn something about an applicant’s personality by gathering information on Facebook that is not relevant to the job (Kluemper & Rosen, 2009). Although such determinations are based on various characteristics, applicant personality is one that garners particular interest. Personality can be defined as uniquely identifying traits paired as indicators of behavioral tendencies in operational contexts (Bohnert & Ross, 2010). Information pertaining to applicant personality may be collected formally or informally from different sources within and outside the organization. According to Davison, Maraist and Bing (2011), some researchers have examined whether social networking sites might be a source in finding evidence that will display aspects of users’ personalities.

However, further research is needed to determine a connection between personality and suitability. The present study does not necessarily measure the characteristics between personality and suitability, yet it demonstrates the use “of social networking websites (e.g., MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) for making HR decisions.” (Davison, 2011) Although relatively new, the movement of organizations using social networking sites to observe personality traits can be a clear predictor of employability. In other words, based on the applicant’s character description or image content on Facebook will an employer be more willing to hire the individual. If the applicant appears favorable based on personal information gathered off Facebook, there may be a higher probability for hire. They were also likely to be offered significantly higher starting salaries (Bonhert, 2010).

Obtaining online information to screen job candidates is often used in combination with other, more traditional information, such as an applicant’s cover letter and resume. As presented by Bonhert (2010), “Research suggests that recruiters use resume information such as type of degree, college grades, extracurricular activities, and work experience to make inferences about an applicant’s motivation, conscientiousness, abilities, and interpersonal skills.” As such, the same inferences can be made when reviewing applicants’ on-line connections, comments, pictures and general information. Therefore, as the old saying goes — Don’t do as you wouldn’t in front of your mother — in the same way, do not post information to the internet you don’t wish employers to see.

Statement of Problem(s)
Various studies suggest that online networking behaviors are essential to career success. Accordingly, research has also shown that online networking is a great skill to develop for career attainment. It is a favorable tool that builds and maintains informal contact to enhance career success. However, an individuals’ networking practices may also hinder their potential for employability. Based on academic research of organizations evaluating candidacy for a prospective employee, concerns arise about the violations displayed by candidates on sites such as Facebook.

Social Networking Sites and Career Success:
Using social networking sites poses great advantages and threats for all. The use of Facebook, MySpace or Twitter in relation to how an individual presents themselves, job-attainment could be a challenge. As for Davison (2012), “Little is also known about the accuracy of the information provided within social networking profiles or about the prevalence of different types of faking (e.g., ‘‘fake good’’ vs. ‘‘fake bad’’) on web pages, and research should investigate the potential impact of such distortions on hiring decisions.” For example, it may be possible to measure an individual’s personality traits based on his/her postings on Facebook although their information may not be accurate or sincere. People may often lie about their qualifications or lack thereof in their personal profiles in order to impress or to portray a more appealing image. As mentioned earlier, displayed personality traits are often taken into consideration as job-relevant characteristics.

In fact, it has been suggested that information obtained from sites such as LinkedIn – a business-oriented social networking site – are highly reviewed because they display a person’s connections, and can presumably verify job-related characteristics. By the same token, Facebook and other not so business-oriented sites are also reviewed for review of potentially self-damaging information. In a study conducted by Kluemper and Rosan (2009), about 50 percent of the employers attending college career fairs use online technology, including both search engines and social networking websites to screen candidates. Kluemper’s data suggests employers and organizations feel justified in electronic screening when using social networking sites. While it may be common practice to monitor web site content it may not always be accurately representative or justifiable. Nevertheless, damaging information found on social networking falls back on the prospective candidate’s choice of publicity.

Statement of Objectives(s)
According to Jacobsen and Forste’s (2011) findings, electronic media has a negative effect on first-semester grades and academic performance. In a similar fashion, our research explores job attainment by looking at Facebook profiles from diverse group of users. Based on the content displayed on these profiles – indecent images, foul language, or misleading personal information – we address the consequences this actions can have in a selection or hiring process when employers choose to run a search on your name. Facebook, a famous social networking site, provides easy access to observe which violations are highest among male and female users. Our violations highlight common patterns organizations dislike of a perspective candidate. Our study discusses employability effects and personality traits examined in social networking profiles. Each violation is presented as a possible threat for job seekers. The determination of whether the violations are sufficient to conclude its effects on employment are also discussed.

This study is suitable to the business and government sectors. No difference can be drawn in a selection process between these two sectors. The end goal for both is to hire the best and most suitable candidate. Therefore, Facebook, as well as many other social networking sites, works as a seemly platform to assess non-favorable personality traits for all employers.

With the far reaching implications social media has on our lives, it is advisable to take into consideration how one displays a personal profile and how it may affect job attainment. Employers want to ensure they hire the right person to represent their company; however, before investing thousands or more in training a new employee, it is cost effective to review easily accessible online public profiles to review a person’s background. Social media outlets such as Facebook serve a perfect example to look at potential employees online behavior to obtain a better understanding on character. While this may be good, the fact of the matter is most online comments, pictures and friendships display more than what the public was meant to know – in other words, TMI!! We hypothesize that there is a significant difference among the frequency of each violation. We examine the difference gender plays in committing violations, and how it differs among races. However, we decided to categorize races between White and Non-white. Non-white is to include Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and other.

Due to the high Hispanic population of the South Texas region, we believe our data would be best represented if the non-white race groupings were combined into one. Furthermore, the present study looks at the difference among pre-defined observed violations, affected by gender and race. Our affected population represented a high number of UT–Pan American students. The reason for this connection is based on the already established “friendships” we have in our personal Facebook profiles. Our personal Facebook page allowed us to easily screen 100 candidates due to the available access to friends’ profiles. We gathered a sample size of 100 Facebook friends, specifically 50 males and 50 females. We looked at the users’ Facebook profile and examined it for any of our five defined violations.

These five violations are commonly seen and easily observable by looking through a user’s photos, posts or comments, and their connections to other Facebook users. Our examination involved the participant’s initial front Facebook page and a thorough “digging” through posts, videos, images and personal history. Due to the fact that it is not easy to identify a person’s race, plus our lacking in diverse populations, our study may be skewed to a higher and disproportionately non-white reporting, for Hispanic/Latino populous. As mentioned previously, to aid in this reporting issue we have grouped whites and non-whites. Our established friendship connections, due to geographic proximity and socialization trends, are also inclined to be college graduates of the same institution. Findings

We conclude each violation functions independently and suggest that not all violations will be suffered. When it comes to gender, we can conclude that there is a difference in amount of violations had between male and female, and almost narrowly rejected the (Ho) null hypothesis. Race also showed to pose a clear difference in amounts of violations committed by our two separate groups.

Our limiting time constraint was the biggest hurdle as we could not accurately represent all populations individually, as we had initially chosen. In examining our findings while trying to achieve a more ubiquitous representation in race and gender, as UTPA data sheets suggest more women than men and also include representation of defined undergrads and undergrads. Violations

(Research Hypothesis)
HI: µV1≠ µV2≠ µV3≠ µV4≠ µV5
There is a difference among means for violation 1, violation 2, violation 3, violation 4, and violation 5. (Null Hypothesis)
HO: µV1- µV2- µV3- µV4- µV5 = 0
There is no difference among means for violation 1, violation 2, violation 3, violation 4, and violation 5. (Level of Significance)
∝ :0.01
(Statistical Method)
On-way analysis of variance (one-way ANOVA) or single classification ANOVA. (Test Of significance)
F distribution
(Degrees of Freedom)
DfK-1, N-K
Assumptions: Random sampling, normality of distribution, and homogeneity of variance. Decision: The decision is to reject HO (Null Hypothesis)
Conclusion: The conclusion is to reject HO (Null Hypothesis)

HI: μM ≠ μF
There is a difference among means for males and females.
H1: μv1≠ μv2≠ μv3≠ μv4 μv5
There is a difference among means for violations 1, violation 2, violation 3, violation 4, and violation 5. HI: μMv1 ≠ μMv2 ≠ μMv3 ≠ μMv4 ≠ μMv5 ≠ μFv1 : μFv2 ≠ μFv3 ≠ μMv4 ≠ μMv5 There is a difference among cell means for Gender and Violations. (Null Hypothesis)

H0: μM ≠ μF = 0
There is no difference among means for males and females.
H0: μv1≠ μv2≠ μv3≠ μv4 ≠ μv5 = 0
There is no difference among means for violations 1, violation 2, violation 3, violation 4, and violation 5. HI: μMv1 ≠ μMv2 ≠ μMv3 ≠ μMv4 ≠ μMv5 ≠ μFv1 : μFv2 ≠ μFv3 ≠ μMv4 ≠ μMv5 = 0 There is a difference among cell means for Gender and Violations. (Level of Significance)

∝ :0.01
(Statistical Method)
Two-way factorial ANOVA
(Test Of significance)
F distribution
(Degrees of Freedom)
Df: r-1, N-(r)(c)(Rows)/df: c-1, N-(r)(c) (Colums)/df: (r-1)(c-1), N- (r)(c) (Cells) Assumptions: Random sampling, normality of distribution, and homogeneity of variance. Decision: The decision is to reject HO (Null Hypothesis)

Conclusion: The conclusion is to reject HO (Null Hypothesis)

HI: μw ≠ μF
There is a difference among means for whites and non-whites. H1: μv1≠ μv2≠ μv3≠ μv4 μv5
There is a difference among means for violations 1, violation 2, violation 3, violation 4, and violation 5. HI: μWv1 ≠ μWv2 ≠ μWv3 ≠ μWv4 ≠ μWv5 ≠ μNv1 : μNv2 ≠ μNv3 ≠ μNv4 ≠ μNv5 There is a difference among cell means for Gender and Violations. (Null Hypothesis)

H0: μW ≠ μN = 0
There is no difference among means for whites and non-whites. H0: μv1≠ μv2≠ μv3≠ μv4 ≠ μv5 = 0
There is no difference among means for violations 1, violation 2, violation 3, violation 4, and violation 5. H0: μWv1 ≠ μWv2 ≠ μWv3 ≠ μWv4 ≠ μWv5 ≠ μNv1 : μNv2 ≠ μNv3 ≠ μNv4 ≠ μNv5 = 0 There is a difference among cell means for Race and Violations. (Level of Significance)

∝ :0.01
(Statistical Method)
Two-way factorial ANOVA
(Test Of significance)
F distribution
(Degrees of Freedom)
Df: r-1, N-(r)(c)(Rows)/df: c-1, N-(r)(c) (Colums)/df: (r-1)(c-1), N- (r)(c) (Cells) Decision: The decision is to reject HO (Null Hypothesis)
Conclusion: The conclusion is to reject HO (Null Hypothesis)

Conclusions and Implications
The present study shows that there exist a relationship between social networks and career success relative to the violations presented. The study provides insight for the higher ranking violations. Above all, the data provides significant correlations between these violations and their relationship to gender and race. Although Facebook was the only medium used to analyze all violations, it is recommended to review more than one social networking site when comparing and analyzing the validity of the violations. Recommended sites include MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, blog sites, and the currently famous Instagram. The tables above report standard deviations, reliabilities, and correlations among the variables. We found that there is a difference among each violation when comparing it to gender and race.

At first we believed there would no difference between males and females in terms of number of violations committed; however, results demonstrated there is a difference among genders. Males had a higher percentile for each violation, while female’s results were more conservative. Also, it is important to consider there is a difference among cell means for race and violations. Again, this difference is attributed to the disproportionately high number of non-whites, to include other non-Hispanic races. Regardless of the disproportionate numbers, both race categories incurred violations. Conversely, it remains unclear how these findings directly influence job attainment. Although they carry negative personality trait reflectors, we failed to associate the significance employers place in personality characteristics found in social networking sites as oppose to the value carried in professional, educational and work experience. The highest limiting factor was the inadequate representation of races. Our ultimate goal was to demonstrate how self-publicized factors found in social networking sites affect employability when violations occur.


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