How Facebook can Make or Break you in the Pursuit of Employment

Finding jobs has become very challenging recently with all the social media and lack of privacy online. Specially if you are moving to a new town that you don’t know that many people in that town, lets say Hawaii, and if you decided that you want to search for jobs in Hawaii, you way want to go through your Facebook and Google+ accounts and do some cleaning. Facebook is not only a great way to keep in touch with friends, but it has become a device for gauging the qualities of strangers. For example, in the world of online dating, many people will check out their date’s Facebook profile before meeting in-person to weed out any people with unsavory lifestyles or views. Now, employers are turning to this massive social media platform in order to judge if a person is even worth the effort to interview. In other cases, employers will conduct the interview and then turn to Facebook to compare candidates. A friend of mine applied for a junior-level executive position at a well-known firm. After the second interview, he was asked to accept his employer’s Facebook friend request. On the third interview his employer told him that minutes after he left the interview, his Facebook profile was studied and the firm decided there was nothing in his social life to indicate that he was lazy or would conflict with the company’s core values. He was hired that day. Later, he learned that he was neck-and-neck with another candidate, but when they looked at her profile, she had a history of partying late and bad-mouthing her past employers for writing her up for being late to work. Although the practice of employers asking candidates with secured Facebook pages to accept their friend requests may be uncommon, it does happen. And besides, it clearly testifies to the fact that employers do their online research on perspective employees.

Drop the red flags

Facebook DrunksYou wouldn’t walk into a job interview un-showered with a beer in hand. So why give this impression of yourself on Facebook? When employers read your Linkedin profile and check your Facebook account, you are being interviewed whether you realize it or not. This is why you MUST go through your Facebook profile and delete anything you posted that is false, or that may portray you as someone who doesn’t take work seriously. In an article published by Forbes the author states that many employers search candidate’s Facebook profiles to look for drug use, excessive drinking, lying about qualifications and badmouthing former employers. The article continues to touch on a bigger subject by suggesting that Facebook may even be a good tool for employers to use in order to gauge an accurate reflection of how good a fit the candidate would be for the company. The author sites a study conducted by the Journal of Applied Social Psychology in which researchers hired HR types to rate hundreds of college students’ Facebook pages according to how employable they seemed. This involved looking at what was publicly available on those pages (status updates, photos and conversations with others) and then reward each person a numbered score that rates their qualities important to being a good employee such as the degree of their emotional stability, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extroversion and intellectual curiosity. In other words, if someone had a public blow-up on Facebook over having to assemble a desk from IKEA, it may indicate that they don’t have a cool, level head for tackling projects.

You can remove the red flags by going through your Facebook page and delete all photos or written content that express a big partying lifestyle, negativity, abrasiveness, short temper, or just general “stupidity”.

The semblance of the employable

The fact of the matter is this: Facebook started out as a platform where people can come together and share ideas and make global connections, and it still serves this purpose. However, what with its explosive popularity, your life is publicized and therefore employers can use it as a hiring tool. Facebook users must adapt to the fact that one’s life is digitalized, and can be reviewed by anyone with an Internet connection. In order to take on the semblance of the employable, you must clean up your online profile to mirror the way you would portray yourself if stepping into a physical office for a job interview. If you want that dream job, you must fit the profile of the company’s dream employee.

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About Shawn Hartley

Creative technologist by day. VP at Corporate 3 Design in Omaha. Proud father and husband.