Mike Dover
by Mike Dover
Mon Nov 9th 2009 at 12:26am UTC

What If a Prospective Employer Doesn’t Look at My Facebook Page?

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Many of us had the advantage of committing most of our really stupid behavior before the days when everyone at, say, a keg party had the ability to record and publish said misdeeds. There are lots of stories of people losing opportunities for jobs because of inappropriate material posted on social networking sites. In a well-publicized case, someone lost an opportunity after tweeting “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” Someone noticed it and responded “Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

On the other hand, having an impressive social media presence can be a huge asset for a job seeker. For example, being LinkedIn to important people in the field or people with buying authority builds one’s gravitas, regularly retweeting interesting articles makes one a useful resource, even clever Facebook updates give an insight into one’s creativity and personality. A good social media presence also improves traditional resume fodder,  a hyperlink to “please visit my blog” is better than “excellent written communication,” and “I am proud of the recommendations on my LinkedIn profile” is so much better than “references available on request.”

Have you experienced any social media snafus?

10 Responses to “What If a Prospective Employer Doesn’t Look at My Facebook Page?”

  1. thelady Says:

    It is too dangerous, even if you do not say anything inappropriate the odds that someone you friended will say something inappropriate is too high. I have Myspace profile set to private and my Facebook profile is unsearchable. Why risk it?

  2. Mike Dover Says:

    A colleague of mine has a very rich twitter profile. He uses it to display his expertise in his research area which is mostly related to technology and marketing.

    His policy for Facebook (which he uses mostly to post pictures of his family) is that he restricts access to people that he would, in real life, welcome into his home.

  3. Sandy Says:

    I have 2 Twitter accounts for this reason. One is for my family and close friends and is private. My other is used for research, networking, and is public. I figured this out a while into my Tiwttering career, but nothing bad seems to have happened yet.

  4. David R. Albrecht Says:

    I think others have the right idea. I use LinkedIn for business, Facebook more for personal/social, and Twitter strictly for professional, public stuff. Even as someone in my mid-20s (relatively young), it’s hard to fathom a world where things are never forgotten. Maybe we can all chill out and learn to take ourselves a little less seriously?

  5. Yuri Artibise Says:

    Why be schizophrenic? I have one brand, online and off, professional and personal. What you see is what you get. If prospective employers don’t want to acknowledge that i have a personal life, I don’t want them as employers. If your personal life is so sketchy that you are afraid of it being found out, chances are that your employer will find out soon enough.

    Also, the fact that the Cisco applicant even got a job offer is proof that the resume/interview based way of hiring people is flawed. Having a robust social media presence that shows all 360 degrees of you, vs a two dimensional resume, will help to ensure that you are indeed the right fit with any potential organization you are looking to work for or with.

    I think David had some good advice to learn to take ourselves a little less seriously. I’ll hire somebody whose social media profile knows s/he can have a bit of fun, than a sterile corporate drone with a sterile online profile.

  6. Campus Entrepreneurship Says:

    Great points made by many. One difficulty in using different social networks for different parts of life is that everyone else may not respect your boundaries. You may meet someone through work and they hit you up on Fbook. Happens all the time.

    BTW, we just discussed this topic last nite in a class I teach. The senior management majors were all well aware of the dangers of social media to their careers. Not sure how many really cared though or ‘edit’ themselves.

  7. Creative Class » Blog Archive » The Grey Flannel Suit and the Hawaiian Shirt - Creative Class Says:

    [...] ESTThe Grey Flannel Suit and the Hawaiian Shirt There were some interesting comments on my last Creative Class post about the value one’s social media presence and possible positive and negative effects on a [...]

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  9. nancy Says:

    Have you experienced any social media snafus?

    I certainly have, even with a private profile one of my so-called friends decided to rat me out to my employer, whilst I only posted , with their permission no less, that my job was at coming to an end. Why should I be held responsible for posts my friends make in response? The only thing holding them back from firing me at the spot, was the law.

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