Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Huge Gap Between Candidate Expectations And Employer Reality In Social Media - Page 3

What Do Candidates Expect About Employer Use Of Social Media?

Now let's compare candidate expectations of how employers use (or should use) social media to check backgrounds. Notice any differences? ...

About 2/3 of the candidates were either naive or upset about employer use of social media, while about 1/3 had a realistic view that they should expect their social profiles will be checked by employers/recruiters.

A few of the really smart ones were enthusiastic, because they modeled their social media profiles to help them find their next position.
  • this is way I use the privacy features on facebook, and do not allow anyone I do not know to become my friend on any social site. I think it's dispicple that any employer would invade someone's privacy. If your not allowed to ask it in an interview then your not allowed to go search for it on the web.
  • My employer (HeadBlade) did... and now I have a job:)
  • It's tough when you work in social media... because you want your employer to see that you are very active on social media. However, you sacrifice your privacy. So far it hasn't been an issue, but I'm sure if I were to ever switch into another industry or career it might be.
  • I think this is dangerous. I mean who doesn't act different outside work? Just bc I post I went out drinking last night until 5 am, doesn't mean that I'm a drunk or irresponsible. Also what if I'm super conservative and I see my top candidate is a Democrat? I think this is a very touchy thing and can lead to hiring for the wrong reasons.
  • Rule of Thumb: If you don't want someone to read it, DON'T POST IT.
  • God help me if employers know a way around Facebook's privacy features. I'm a different person on social sites than I am in real life - it's where I let off steam and feel free to be a complete idiot. To judge me by that - to have it be the determining factor for employment - would be unfortunate.
  • if my activity on social media websites leads to a NO regarding a job, probably the employer is not suitable for ME. :-)
  • I'm with you A. What I put on my facebook page isn't necessarily always the truth. But how are employers able to crack the privacy? I only 'share' with friends.
  • The Internet is a totally public place... It's surprising just HOW public--I agree with Missy above... only write in social media places what you wouldn't mind others reading--or use another place to communicate--or let off steam... potential employers are definitely checking people out on it!
  • you guys need to learn how to use the privacy settings.
  • J, I do as well. I once believed in the old concept of "reasonable expectation of privacy," especially if it was promised by the site, but we're learning that websites change their minds, lie, or get hacked. So what may have once seemed a reasonable expectation certainly isn't now, not even in "private" blogs.
  • a few years back when Myspace was the only social network.... i had gone for a job interview for an online marketing company, the directors checked my myspace page and saw photos of me hooliganning around drunk going down a flight of stairs with an office chair. Not a good first impresssion, however it did show character and i did get the JOB. sooo.... the lesson is .......... perhaps make your social network profile employer friendly?
  • I'm beginning to think if I look for a job i should search the manger and recruiter FB profiles! I once blasted someone on Twitter for sharing the name of someone she chose not to hire because she did not like her email address. For those t...hat use FB in hiring do you do that? what's your criteria? I think its funny because it can be taken so out of context. If I used FB in recruiting - I'd think I'd use it to analyze consistency about interests etc. But that said, I think its kind of studid. It's like companies think they are so smart for checking us out on FB....but its actually pretty sleezy on their part...well that and limited. There are plent of other places to find info online about people.
  • it's an idiotic notion to think that anything online would be (or would have EVER actually been) private, regardless of what the 'privacy policies' of said sight claim to be. if you don't like someone reading it: don't post it. DUH!
  • How about you show me yours and I'll show you mine?. . . while I kind of agree with this, because I google people all the time but then again their livelihood does not depend on my findings (I rationalize it as a safety issue when making new friends), I do not think an employer "owns" you. In most cases, they pay you to do job for a certain talent, for a certain time of your day, that's it. I agree with S on that. But I also agree with M too, when in doubt don't. But there are some jobs, like say with the CIA, or similar special responsibility/clearance/sensitive types of jobs where this type of probing is necessary. . . For example, a teacher or preist who has a public profile with them doing innappropriate things with a minor should definitely have that count against them (well anyone really and charges drawn as well). . . But an employer who sees you partying with your buddies - or pictures of you in your bathing suit from a beach trip - that's innapproriate of the employer to feel they have the RIGHT to investigate you at that level and the right to that information. . . So how about this - if an HR person wants to see your stuff, they have to show you their's first.. . sounds fair to me.
  • Anyplace that's going to that much trouble to "check up" on me, isn't the kind of place that I want to be working for.
  • Can someone please explain to me how, if my facebook privacy is set to "friends only", a stranger can view my facebook page?
  • they shouldn't be able to but they can click on friends who don't have privacy settings and check out what they are up to and make assumptions about you unfortunately.
  • Wouldn't recommend it. Isn't work performance enough to get a paycheck anymore?
  • because the information is there, i guess people will take advantage of it. whether it's for jobs, stalking, etc. the problem is not about whether one should or should not review one's social networking sites when considering someone for a job/etc. ..... the question is whether the data should be so openly visible in the first place.
  • And we wonder why unemployment is so high...any employer can have pie-in-the-sky expectations that are so unattainable for anyone and blame it on social media. What a neat-o idea! /sarcasm
  • I have searched potential employers and expect they will do the same. I dont believe it is much different to the time When our communities were smaller and people actually talked to others regarding the traits an employee may hold.
  • I was hired party due to the fact that I have a strong Twitter profile and have built a very nice personal brand for myself. I only used Twitter not FB, my FB is private.
  • Whoa! Why do u need to bother abt social life...jus leave that to them...
  • Picking into their personals lives to find out if they fit the job criteria... Ethical or not?
  • I've never seen much personally useful information on that subject.
  • 69 companies in France sign a policy about not using social media in recruting, the policy is supported by the national association of HR Directors
  • Perhaps I can get a job as an editor since I know the difference between lead and led. Haha!
  • I don't post anything online that I wouldn't want an employer to see, because EVERYTHING is permanent! Facebook privacy features may help you now, but they are always changing privacy controls. And one day, you may regret something you posted years ago.
  • If you are visible enough on the Internet to make or break a hiring decision, you are doing it wrong.
Readers - How do you feel about employers and recruiters using social media to assist in candidate background checks?

I’d appreciate hearing views of employers/recruiters as well as what candidates think.

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Original quotes from:

Full Facebook discussion at: Mashable’s Facebook page


edjaworska said...

Thank you for your great article.I agree but may you can to find the answer? "To be or not to be" that is the question.How to keep our privacy if our friends,business partners expect to show our activity in social media?I hope you understand me very well.Thanks.

Phil Rosenberg said...


It's simple. Don't publish anything you wouldn't want your prospective boss to see.

To "clean up" how you manage your online reputation, see

Career Transition Specialist said...

Phil, thanks for an engaging article, yet again. I am a raving fan of your site, and often promote your blog to clients as a source of what "to" do.

The Internet has a long tail, and what that means is you will be punished for the sins of your youth... if you publicize them. That is the item I feel many forget, is that if you never told the employer (visually, verbally, or left a digital footprint of your escapades) then they would not know.

To support your statement, Phil, it IS simple - these strangers would know nothing if you said nothing. That being the case, though, if you say nothing and your competition says something positive, and then they beat you out. It is not as easy as saying nothing, but be aware of what you have said in the past.

Great article, keep up the fantastic posts.

Phil Rosenberg said...

@Career, Thanks for your comment, and readership. You've hit the nail square in the head - you can proactively manage your online reputation, rather than just be defensive (making sure you aren't tagged to any wild college party pics). See more about how to use social media to proactively manage your reputation at .

Phil Rosenberg said...

@Career - Oops, I already referred to that one in this comment thread - Here's more on proactively managing your online reputation .