They should not do it, but they do, I am referring to hiring managers who check a potential employees Facebook page before they consider them for a position. Is it illegal to check someone’s Facebook page? Unfortunately not. Some hiring managers will not tell you why they passed you over for a position, but there are some who are kind (or mean) enough to give you fair warning, and tell you they do not think you are a suitable candidate because of your lack of judgment. What lack of judgment? Well, the lack of judgment I am referring to has to do with Social Networking, Facebook in particular. Some employers simply will look at the resume first, then promptly check your Facebook page.
Facebook stalking has become all too common amongst hiring managers. Potential employees do not like it and feel it is an invasion of privacy; but you have to look at it from both sides.
From the employer’s standpoint, the company seeks to hire individuals that are mature enough to know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. For instance, every single one of your Facebook photos shows you holding up some type of drink and laughing hysterically. If I were a potential employer, I would worry about you showing up for work on Mondays because of all the partying you do on the weekends.
From the employees’ standpoint, it goes back to “what I do in my personal life is my own business”. Which is true, what goes on in someone’s personal life should have no bearing on his or her professional life, unless it starts to affect his or her work performance.
What is important is that both sides remember that the internet is a public place. In fact, your Facebook profile is publicly searchable by anyone. However, what the searcher gets to see is totally up to you. I know you think it is okay to have anyone view your profile, but trust me it is not. Some creepy and “stalky” people hang out on Facebook on a regular basis. Those stalkers cannot wait for you to post personal information such as where you are going to be on a certain night, so that they can show up and stalk you some more. Beside the obvious privacy issues, think about your safety issues as well before you post it to Facebook.
Here are some things you can do to protect your privacy and not ruin your chances of scoring that job you have always dreamed of having.
Set your privacy settings to friends only. Potential employers cannot judge you, if they cannot see anything.
Do not post inappropriate photos on your Facebook page. Not every photo is Facebook appropriate. One day those same photos might come back to haunt you.
Do not friend anyone you do not know. Who cares how many friends you have? If you do not know them, do not friend them.
Do not use Facebook as a platform to badmouth your former boss, co-workers, or to make derogatory comments about anyone else.
Most importantly, remember that the internet is a public place and almost anything you put out there will be very easy to find. Think about it, how many times have you “Googled” someone to find out more about him or her. It is all a matter of keeping everything in perspective and controlling what you can.