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Facebook Gets Unintended Attention from Hiring Managers

Facebook is great fun, but companies are using it to find reasons not to hire you.

Facebook is great fun, but companies are using it to find reasons not to hire you.

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Are you hooked on connecting with old and new friends online? Are you using Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites as both social and job hunting tools?

Career coaches and recruiters tell you that you must be using these sites to network and promote your career. But what about all the personal networking you do online? How might that affect your job search.

Companies are looking at your personal life online and finding reasons to reject your application. A recent survey by Careerbuilder showed 45 percent of companies reported that they use social networks to screen candidates.

As FastCompany points out in the article “If You’re Applying for a Job, Censor Your Facebook Page,” Facebook probably receives too much attention from recruiters considering most of your Facebook information, images, status updates and things you say are of a more personal nature.

[W]hile you may be well up on the usual habits, norms and joys of social networking, your prospective employer really really isn’t. And of those employers who did surf the social ‘Nets, 35% reported rejecting a candidate thanks to data they found there.

Look at these stats as to the reasons why, and how many of the employers acted on such data:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photos or info–53%
  • Drinking or drug use–44%
  • Bad-mouthing previous employee, colleague or client–35%
  • Poor communication skills–29%
  • Discriminatory comments–26%
  • Lied about qualifications–24%
  • Leaked confidential info from previous job–20%

The drug use, leaking info and lying…okay, I can understand. But if you step back and think about the others, they’re absolutely shocking. If you’re using a social network, it’s to share aspects of your private life.

Is that really the best use of Facebook by hiring managers?It doesn’t matter. The fact that you aren’t using the privacy settings of Facebook to your advantage means you are allowing prospective employers to see things unintended for them.

Not sure how to change your privacy settings on Facebook? At the top of the page look next to your name on the right and you’ll see the “settings” link. Go there and review all the options you have to share or hide your profile information and images. Facebook gives you a lot of choices with privacy, so use it to your advantage.

In the article, “Social Netiquette: Mind Your Manners” social networking experts talked to TheLadders’ Kevin Fogarty and had this to say about online behavior:

As any number of college students and one Miss America contestant can tell you, it’s bad form to record your indiscretions and post the evidence on a public Web site. Embarrassing photos or remarks can surface during your job search. Recruiters and hiring managers routinely search social-networking sites for background information, and many will hold photos of youthful hijinks against them.

Protecting the company image, the image of its employees and the amount of time you might be wasting on the site versus doing actual work is in the best interest of a company. While these networks provide an amazing way to distribute, the openness of theses sites is allowing companies to find reasons why you aren’t the ideal employee.

[Image by robleto via Flickr CC 3.0]

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