Facebook and the job market: How careful should you be online during the hiring process?

Posted: December 10, 2011 by entertainmentxray in Elizabeth

When applying for a job, employers now have a whole new slew of ways to look into your past as well as examine who you are.  Facebook in particular is becoming a primary place to research into who your future employees could be.  Having pictures of yourself drinking, partying, and out with friends could be harmless in other environments, but it can have damaging effects to your job if you are not careful.  The easiest way to maintain some privacy on Facebook and make sure the wrong people aren’t seeing those pictures is to simply keep up with your privacy settings and update them frequently.  According to msnbc.com, Facebook updates it’s privacy settings an average of four times a year, and sometimes they are not explicitly advertised on the home page.  It is the responsibility of the user to keep checking and make sure that your settings are where they need to be.

Many people argue that Facebook is an online version of yourself and therefore has no real say in who you truly are.  Although those people have a point,  studies show that employers can and do look at Facebook as an indicator of if they should or should not hire you.  The Washington Post team recently did a study that tracked the eye movement of thirty people while being shown different Facebook profiles.  They published their findings in an article recently, and what they came up with is that your profile picture is the most looked at thing on your Facebook, with who your friends are in the sidebar at a close second.  They also said that employers are the number one group of people that look at the profiles of individuals they do not know.  This means that people are going to be looking at your page, especially during the hiring process, and you need to be extremely careful about what you post.  Forbes magazine also did a similar study recently, saying that employers look for “creativity, well rounded-ness and ‘chastity'”.

Maintaining your privacy online has always been important, but in a new age where social networking rules a large section of everyone’s lives, it is gaining importance daily.  For more information about privacy online, check out Jonathan’s blog as well.  He provides some great information.

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