Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Your Facebook Page: The Next Hiring Tool?

Today we welcome a guest blog post from Bethany Headrick, Marketing Assistant at Orion International.

Recently, InsideFacebook reported a study from CareerBuilder in which 45% of employers admitted to viewing applicants’ “social pages” (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) during the hiring process. In our increasing media-driven society, reviewing personal online pages has become the norm in the hiring process, the same as conducting interviews, running credit checks, and reviewing resumes.

As a result, according to the New York Times, 35 percent of hiring managers admitted to not offering jobs based on what was discovered on the Internet, specifically on social pages like Facebook.

Because of this, should snooping on a job seeker’s profile be illegal? With credit checks, employers are legally required to admit if they found something that discouraged them from hiring an individual. Should the same practice be required of Facebook and other social media websites? In The Future of Reputation, author Daniel Solove, a law professor at George Washington University, argues that the same should be applied to Facebook checks.

“There are no guidelines for this now,” Solove says. “A lot of employers are acting incredibly irresponsibly. Sometimes they’ll have a student working for them to get around an applicant’s privacy settings to look at their Facebook page. Maybe that should be illegal.”

Regardless of the legal implications, for those job seekers who are avid Facebook users, keep in mind that any potential employer can view your profile page, and what they see can ultimately sway a decision. For better or worse, Facebook and other websites are becoming a digital image of who you are in the “real world.” Profiles and accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc. all reveal likes, dislikes, personalities, and even best photo angles, which is a better representation to employers than just a basic short interview.

If you’re unwilling to share personal details with employers, consider placing your Facebook and other social media pages under higher privacy settings, and limit your content to “friends only”.

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