Facebook and a New Job

On 03/20/2012, in Career, Finding a Job, Professionalism, by Jordan Wilson

Interesting article this morning.

It seems some companies ask job applicants for their Facebook passwords during interviews.

My brother-in-law just keeled over. My nephew may never get a job now. He felt slightly better when I reminded him his son has little chance of getting hired regardless.

But this another cautionary tale for those using social media and the internet

Job Seekers Asked for Facebook Passwords

According to the Associated Press:

When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.

In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person’s social networking profiles and instead asking to log in as the user to have a look around.

I would tell the interviewer to get stuffed, but I realize that many people need a job more than possibly their dignity.

I do not have anything incriminating on my social media. I use my nephew’s name for any naughty stuff. But I would be very concerned about working for a company that thought it proper to log into my Facebook account. What else will they do once I am an employee?

Once It Is Out There, It is Out There Forever

Once you put something out there on the internet – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, texting, etc. – it is in the ether forever.

And out of your control. You send your boyfriend a photo or email and it may be forwarded on. Tiger Woods is a prime example of what can go wrong.

Be careful what you post online. You never know who might see your musings (or worse).

Always be discreet in public places as well. You never know who might be listening in.

Before Applying for Any Position

Prior to submitting any job application, conduct your own internet search and spring cleaning.

Note that I say before submitting the application, not the interview. During the application review stage, a company may do its internet search on you. Clean up your online persona before applying for a job.

Do not wait until contacted for the interview. If you are like my nephew, that interview call may never come.

Some things you can delete so that an interviewer or Human Resources representative will not uncover them. Facebook photos, comments, etc., come to mind.

You may not be able to erase all your “interesting” items, but at least you will know what is out there. That eliminates any interview surprises and allows you to think of a plausible defence before you get asked.

Regardless of what you do in your private life, I think it highly questionable for companies to dig that deeply into your personal life. I also think that there will be court cases addressing this issue over the next few years.

But as long as companies do this, and you cannot tell them no, then be ready.

Be careful what you post, do a thorough review of your internet existence before applying, and prepare defences for any non-erasable problems. If so, you will have little to worry about.

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