Job hunting? Take a closer look at your Facebook page

by Evil HR Lady on April 30, 2014

Employers using social media to help find job candidates (or job seekers using it to search for open positions) is all the rage these days. But with this rising use of social media, you need to be aware that, like it or not, employers and potential employers can find out a lot more about you than they could in the past. Even if your privacy settings are super-high, it’s always possible one of those “friends” will rat you out.

So, every once in a while, you might want to run a check on your Facebook (FB) account to see if you have anything “suspect” on your page — something that might cause a boss or potential boss to think poorly of you.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Some guy April 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Employers who search for potential employees through Facebook are just plain dumb.

Hiring managers should be cultivating their networks and looking for knowledgeable employed and unemployed candidates from those pools.

Leaving candidate searching to HR generalists and their crappy bureaucratic robots (HR info systems) through mindless Googling and Facebook stalking is just stupid.

Facebook is for posting silly cat pictures and keeping up with family and friends. Hasn’t anyone figured that out yet? is HR really that dumb? They should go back to just processing payroll and benefits.

I really believe what Nick Corcodilos says– rejection by HR tells you nothing. HR is the barking dog outside the house of the woman a man is wooing. The fact that the dog barks at you when you are near the house tells you nothing about how much the woman loves you.

The woman should be going out and socializing. Otherwise, she will become a spinster.

So should hiring managers. Otherwise, companies lose out.

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Kobayashi April 30, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Oookay. Great analogies, there. Hopefully you’ve never used them in the workplace.

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Some guy April 30, 2014 at 11:40 pm

You’re right. I forgot about the thought police. Is that part of HR as well?

Thanks for not commenting on the relevance and ideas implicit in the comment and analogies. The condescending “oookay” was lovely too.

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Vicki May 3, 2014 at 8:39 am

Or on Facebook. :-)

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Somegirl May 1, 2014 at 12:59 am

It is very interesting to see how social media has impacted the job market. Some people are oblivious to how they things they comment online might come back to haunt them when looking for a job. It seems that in today’s society privacy is something of the last just look at the scandal going on in the NBA no one is safe.

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Some guy May 1, 2014 at 1:38 am

Yes. Privacy is dead.

That’s why I keep my private Facebook page all about sports, cats, and harmless/fun stuff.

I’m still trying to figure out why Facebook is work-relevant to some people.

I thought companies were looking for talent, talent, talent! You’d think they’d look to their sector specialists for insight (instead of just asking for keywords to feed an ATS).

Maybe HR departments are just looking for scandal and gossip instead.

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Observer May 4, 2014 at 3:51 am

What you put on your facebook does often say something about you. If you post pictures of yourself doing something risky or stupid, that tells the (prospective) employer something about you. etc.

In other words, the idea is not to look for prospects on facebook, so much, but rather to look at what prospects are doing and what they are making public to help make an informed decision. After all, talent is not the whole picture.

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Lorena May 1, 2014 at 7:25 am

Some very interesting points of view on this. I personally do not thing Facebook is meant for networking on work related issues. However, some people do like to advertise where they work on Facebook potentially impacting how the organization they work for looks like. I know we have all seen the posts where a waiter/waitress posts the bad tip from a customer, or a picture of them doing something they shouldn’t be and consequences come with those.
Thus, although, I do not agree with finding potential employees through Facebook, screening who you are considering is a good idea for the image of the organization.

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Joshua May 2, 2014 at 12:04 am

It is crazy to see how social media has impacted the job market and changed how secure we have to be with outlets we like to use for fun. It is so easy to be oblivious to how online sites and your past mistakes can come come back to haunt people while the look for a job. I think privacy is something of the past and the only way to avoid incidents like this occurring is to avoid social media all together.

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Adam May 2, 2014 at 3:15 am

I felt that this article was very interesting. It has me thinking back to what I have posted in the past. Fortunately for myself, I do not have a large online presence as it is. But just the idea of an HR manager looking up at my personal Facebook profile sparks thoughts on why that would be. Personally I think it is relevant because since a Facebook page is, in a sense, their own personal website that they can post and say whatever they want (within the limitations of Facebook guidelines) it grants HR Managers insight in their potential employees. Their Facebook page can tell someone on whether or not they have a track record or staying out late, flaking out on things. It also should be considered that it is not only your interactions that you have on your Facebook page, but things that people you associate with has tagged you in as well.

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Jeff M May 3, 2014 at 12:47 am

As an HR Manager I want to point out it’s the Hiring Manager that makes the hire call. I would hope only HR got involved if there was something that could put the company at legal risk, which should be a very rare occurrence.

I actually hate Facebook and don’t search it myself,

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Nicholas MOSES May 11, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Facebook is not and should not be used for professional networking. There is a reason many companies (including mine) block it.

That having been said, precisely BECAUSE Facebook is not a professional networking tool, but the Internet does not distinguish between professional and non-professional, you should absolutely make sure that your non-professional online image does not interfere with your professional online image.

So far as Facebook is concerned, this means 1. make your profile PRIVATE (visible only to friends), 2. make your profile unsearchable via external search engines, 3. do not add as friends colleagues or employers and 4. check your profile from a simulated anonymous situation from time to time to make sure Facebook has not changed your privacy settings (as they tend to do from time to time without letting you know).

It’s not just about what you are doing: any manager with half a brain knows everyone has wild and kooky moments. But if you don’t even have the good sense to take a minimum care of your image, then can he trust you with the company’s?

These last few months an esteemed medical student in Seattle, a self-proclaimed virgin, set up a web persona by which she attempted to auction off her virginity. Thanks to the photos, her real name was exposed, and now she’s completely lost control of the situation. Even if her school doesn’t punish her, she’s screwed for life. Her credibility is destroyed, and all because of the public image she has branded into everyone’s minds: an exhibitionist and an impulsive personality. Whether she actually is either of these things is irrelevant, and so unfortunately is the (apparently very high) quality of her work. Her peers or mentors in the scientific and medical community will certainly never look at her the same way again, and neither will patients: few would wish to have their bodies cared for by a doctor who doesn’t seem to respect even her own.

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