Thursday, 22 November 2007

could facebook ruin your dream career?

Thinking about putting your new drunken photos from the weekend up on Facebook or Myspace? Think again, as it has been revealed that almost 8% of employers check these networking sites when researching prospective candidates.

We all know that the internet can be a dangerous world and we have to protect ourselves against online fraudsters, hoaxers and paedophiles, but we never thought we’d have to do the same against our future employers.

Bosses are trawling through these personal sites to obtain information that wouldn’t usually show up on a CV or through a formal interview, and you’d think that your social circle, shopping habit or photos from a girls night out shouldn’t matter when it comes to looking for a new job, but these could potentially stop an employer from taking you on if they deem you to look irresponsible.

And the number of prying companies is expected to rise now that Facebook and other personal networking profiles can be accessed quickly and easily through search engines like Google.

How would you feel walking into work on a Monday morning with the sickly feeling in your stomach that your boss has seen everything you’ve done over the weekend?

There are over 3.2 million users on Facebook in the UK and the problem is that most of these people don’t know how to change their privacy settings. With a few simple clicks you can make sure that your profile (and that photo) is only viewed by your friends and the people you know about.

Bosses are also using the sites to check candidates’ loyalty to former and current employers. If your greeting message on Facebook is ‘Lucy is: sick of her job and hates her fat boss’ then they’re not going to be too impressed with your lack of respect. Nor will they be likely to employ you if you’re letting the world know you’re pulling a sickie because you’re still hungover from last night’s drinking binge.

And if your friends’ comments on your profile are full of daily invitations for a night out on the town, would your boss go as far as giving you an interview if he knows you probably won’t turn up for it?

It’s true that these online profiles are personal and that companies shouldn’t mix business with the private lives’ on candidates. After all, your future boss could click onto the profile of a part-time stripper after making an honest mistake in misspelling your name, and you’d never be accepted aboard that dream job. But it’s just not worth taking the risk.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation warns that job candidates need to be careful of how they present themselves online. “Most employers looking at these sites aren’t trying to catch people out, but trying to get a better picture of a person overall.”

And if that overall picture is you collapsed on a nightclub floor with your knickers around your ankles, it has to be said that destiny (and your career) is in your own hands.


A. Writer said...

Very interesting!

I've just checked my own privacy settings to make sure no one can see anything that I don't want them to!

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