Young job-seekers hiding their Facebook pages

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by vta, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. vta

    vta The Proletariat

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    The glory of a shrinking world...

    (CNN) -- Justin Gawel says there's nothing too incriminating on his Facebook page. "There are a lot of pictures of drinking [but] nothing naked or anything -- at least I don't think so," he said jokingly. Even so, the Michigan State University junior recently changed his Facebook display name to "Dustin Jawel" to keep his personal life from potential employers while applying for summer internships.

    Although Gawel ditched his rhyming alias after two weeks when he realized Facebook users also can be searched by e-mail address, school and network, he is not alone in his efforts to scrub his online résumé. Many students and recent graduates say they are changing their names on Facebook or tightening privacy settings to hide photos and wall posts from potential employers.

    And with good reason.

    A recent survey commissioned by Microsoft found that 70 percent of recruiters and hiring managers in the United States have rejected an applicant based on information they found online. What kind of information? "Inappropriate" comments by the candidate; "unsuitable" photos and videos; criticisms of previous employers, co-workers, or clients; and even inappropriate comments by friends and relatives, according to the survey report, titled "Online Reputation in a Connected World."

    Such prying into his online life makes Gawel uncomfortable. "I understand that when [employers look] at someone's Facebook page, they're just trying to paint a bigger picture of the people they're hiring -- so they're not just a name on a résumé," he said. "But that doesn't demonstrate whether they can do the job. It shouldn't matter what someone does when they're not in the office."

    Gawel said he's not sure that employers would object to the information on his Facebook page. For him, it's more about personal privacy. "Too many people take pictures of you. I didn't want to go through and 'untag' all of them," he said. "There's nothing illegal or too ridiculous in the photos ... but people don't take pictures of people studying or doing school work. They take pictures of people at parties and doing silly things."

    For better or worse, online screenings may be a permanent part of the 21st-century hiring process. The Microsoft survey found that 79 percent of U.S. hiring managers have used the Internet to better assess applicants. Dan Eggers of Partners Marketing Group in Marietta, Georgia, is among that 79 percent. "We review and certainly do research on anyone we're looking at hiring or using as a contract employee," Eggers said. "We would Google their name, look at LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter."

    He said his firm usually only consults an applicant's online reputation to make sure he or she hasn't misrepresented their work experience. "We try not to pay a lot of attention to wall posts from others. It would take quite a bit for us to be reacting to that," Eggers said. But racist or homophobic comments will land your résumé and cover letter in the garbage, he said.

    "People have a false sense of security about their personal information out there on the Web ... they think only their friends will see it," said Jack Rayman, senior director of career services at Pennsylvania State University.
    Elana Borchers, an Indiana University senior, said she exchanged her last name for her middle name on Facebook in November when she started applying for jobs. Borchers even decided to keep her alias after landing a full-time position a month later. "Not everything is certain," she said. "If my employers saw something on my profile now that they didn't like, they could take my job away."

    Not that she's worried about the content on her Facebook page. "There's nothing bad [on my profile]. I'd rather they learn about me in person," Borchers said. "Big Ten schools have the reputation of excessive partying. That's something that's here with me in college, I don't plan to take that partying with me in the future and I didn't want someone to see that and judge me."

    Borchers said she thought about removing pictures of her partying, but "they're my memories and I want to keep them for now." Many of Borchers' friends are playing the Facebook name game, too -- dropping their last names or using a nickname to hide from potential employers and grad-school admissions officers. "A lot of my guy friends changed [their user names] to a nickname that their friends call them, so everyone still knows who it is," she said.

    Facebook spokesperson Kathleen Loughlin said she could not comment on the number of users who change their name on Facebook, but students who spoke to CNN said that among their peers, the trend is rampant. Another Indiana University senior, Jeffrey Lefcort, changed his Facebook user name to Jeffrey David -- his middle name -- when he began applying for jobs, even though he doesn't think his page has anything inappropriate. "I just didn't want to be found by someone who was looking for me that I'm not friends with," Lefcort said. "My Facebook profile is not intended for employers. I didn't want them looking at my personal life."

    Like Gawel, Lefcort eventually ditched his pseudonym and opted instead to tighten his Facebook privacy settings -- something Facebook's Loughlin said is encouraged. With the Internet playing such a large role in business today, few recruiters don't assess applicants' online reputations in some capacity before hiring, said George Matlock, director of operations at Matlock Advertising and Public Relations in Atlanta, Georgia.

    And while Matlock said he almost always Googles a person's name before hiring them, he steers clear of Facebook. "I haven't looked at [an applicant's] Facebook page," he said. "I try to stay away from it, myself. I think it's too personal ... maybe I'm just scared to see what's out there. Facebook tends to be something pretty private."

    Emily Mitnick, a Michigan State University senior who also changed her name on Facebook, said she has nothing to hide but wants to keep a low profile and avoid being searched by potential employers. Mitnick uses LinkedIn to communicate with the "professional world." She describes Facebook as a place "where I can be social with my friends and I don't have to be professional.

    "I don't have any of my [tagged pictures] available to the public -- just for precautionary measures, not because they're inappropriate," she added. "I would just like to remain somewhat private." Rayman, the Penn State career counselor, said he recommends that students with potentially incriminating photos or posts change their name on social networking sites. But it's not always that easy to escape your online reputation, he said.

    "Web sites are almost impossible to eliminate," Rayman said. "They get cached somewhere and they'll keep coming up. It used to be if you had a poor reputation in one school, you'd move to another and your record didn't necessarily follow you. It's getting harder and harder to do that as everyone is on the Internet and everyone knows everyone's business."
  2. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    Check this out.


    Keeping a Closer Eye on Employees’ Social Networking

    A service released earlier this week by Teneros, an online communication services company, makes it much easier for companies to keep tabs on their employees’ social networking activities.

    The software, called Social Sentry, will automatically monitor Facebook and Twitter accounts for $2 to $8 for each employee, depending on the size of the company and the level of activity being monitored.

    It has always been possible, of course, for employers to look at what their workers are posting on social media. It is an increasingly common activity for human resources departments vetting prospective employees. But there was a measure of privacy afforded by the sheer amount of information online. Automating the process makes it more likely that monitoring will become commonplace, say both those who approve and those who disapprove.

    Social Sentry draws only on publicly posted information on Facebook and Twitter; the company plans to add YouTube, ******* and LinkedIn by this summer. The company is marketing the product as a way to watch for the release of confidential or embarrassing information and to measure how much time employees are spending on social media during work hours.

    But what employers decide they want to look for is up to them, said Matt Weil, the company’s chief executive. “We only provide the application and software,” he said. “It is the companies that decide what to do with it.”

    As cases involving mischievous workers for Domino’s Pizza and an indiscreet Israeli soldier have shown recently, people’s social media activity can come back to haunt their employers.

    Employers are looking for better control. The American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute do an annual survey of companies on their approach to digital media, and more than 60 percent of the companies that responded in the most recent survey said they had some social media policy in place. Like e-mail, employees’ social media creates a trail that could be used in litigation, said Nancy Flynn, the executive director of the ePolicy Institute.

    “You definitely want to take advantage of your legal right to monitor,” Ms. Flynn said.

    Unlike corporate e-mail accounts, however, social networking isn’t clearly of the working world. While it is publicly accessible, many users see it as an informal and intimate form of communication. And well-documented confusion over privacy settings means that some information is being made public without users’ knowledge.

    Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, a research and advocacy group, called the automatic monitoring of social networking a “disaster,” and predicted that it would lead to people being fired for online griping, the airing of political views and other innocuous conversation. There is a tendency to react to an off-color joke or complaint that appears online more harshly than to the same comment made in a cafeteria or company picnic.

    But he also said that there is little recourse for those whose social networking activity gets them in trouble.

    “I’m a privacy advocate, and I wouldn’t stand up before Congress and say your boss shouldn’t be allowed to read your social networking sites,” he said. “You’re putting it out there for the world.”
  3. vta

    vta The Proletariat

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    Given the amount of people 'Facebooking' on the job, I'll bet most companies don't even have to pay for that service. I walk into a co-workers cube and it's up and not hidden.

    I know IT here can bring up your desktop at any moment and monitor what you're doing.

    I'm amazed at what people provide on Facebook. Phone numbers, quacking about leaving to go on vacation, etc.
  4. Hoofbite

    Hoofbite Well-Known Member

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    Shocker. People share a ton of their dirty laundry for the world to see and people who are looking to pay them money are rummaging through it to see how dirty it is.

    I don't use Facebook. I have an account but that's about the extent of it. All my information is out of date by years on there. I just don't see the excitement behind knowing everything about other people and don't care for people to know everything about me.
  5. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    I've got a FB acct. I use it for both business and personal reasons.

    My opinion is don't put anything out there you'll be ashamed of. I do hide some of the more personal things from some of my business "friends" but other than that, I don't worry about it.
  6. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    all this crap is about "Look at me, I am special". That is what Facebook and all the rest of that garbage is. If you are so stupid as to put stuff like that out on a public website what happens after that is your own fault and no one elses. Got no sympathy with any of these show offs.
  7. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    I'm not really surprised at the ignorance you just spewed.

    There's nothing showy about it. It really is about communicating with other people in an online community. Ranks right up there with a discussion forum.

    Matter of fact alot of businesses use it to promote their businesses as another means of marketing their products.
  8. CanadianCowboysFan

    CanadianCowboysFan Lightning Rod

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    true dat

    I have a page, update what I am up to etc I only have about 215 friends on there so not as many as most.
  9. ShiningStar

    ShiningStar Well-Known Member

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    THis is whats called being responsible, the proper thing to do knowing people can look you up and find you and learn about you.

    Good for you WG. Thats the mindset to have with these social clubs so to speak.
  10. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    I have just under 200 myself and I'm very cautious about adding people I don't know. We have to have mutual friends of some kind before I'd consider it.

    People forget that you must carry yourself a certain way no matter if you're online or in person. Being on FB or in any other social community doesn't give one license to be an ***. Shoot some of my "friends" are parents of my real friends. No way do I post something to offend them.

    Responsibility and awareness is one of the things I try to teach my baby sister. She's a teenager and she loves to post pics of herself. But when the pics cross a respectable line or she posts a "status" that's out of line, I put her in check. I remind her that if she wants to get into a good college, then she needs to be aware of what she's putting out there.
  11. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    I went to high school overseas and FB helps me keep in contact with some of my old chums.

    So not totally useless.

    Now ******* on the otherhand. I deleted that **** long ago.
  12. theebs

    theebs Believe!!!!

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    after reading most of your posts, I always wonder what world do you live in....

    I have a facebook account and its great.

    Want to know why?

    I Live 1600 miles from my family and friends and facebook is a great way for me to talk to them, share pictures and just keep in touch in a quick simple way.

    I think its great. I am certainly not looking for attention and I am not looking for girlfriends or whatever. Its a great thing if you use it for what it is for.

    There are attention whores, we all know some but really its a great thing I think.
  13. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    I use it for family and have hooked up with old friends from Highschool and stuff.

    I keep it simple
  14. Faerluna

    Faerluna I'm Complicated

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    I've reconnected with old friends from school, old jobs, etc. and my current job has FB applications so people in my company use it extensively for business and personal use.
  15. vta

    vta The Proletariat

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    I was just talking to a co-worker about this earlier and he said the same thing. To some extent you do have a point. In a large list of friends you have those who feel the need to update every ridiculous moment, minute by minute, no matter how senseless.

    On the other hand, it is great to simply keep in contact with people and re-connect with people you haven't heard from in a long time. I've come across people who'd moved to other states and I hadn't seen since high school, (20 + years) and am happy I did.

    I'm shocked some people actually put their numbers in their profile and give out waay too much info. My whole profile is pretty much a joke with very little truth to it.
  16. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    One of my cousins changes his birthday monthly.

    It always cracks me up how many people fall for it. His next "birthday" is April 1. :p: He got me once because I forgot when it was. Now I only pay attn if his wife says it's his b-day.
  17. ethiostar

    ethiostar Well-Known Member

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    :hammer: :hammer: :hammer:

    I couldn't have said it any better. I started a facebook account precisely for those reasons. My wife and I are currently in WV and both our families are in TX. We had a baby 7 months ago and we wanted to make sure they got to see the boy as much as they wanted to. So we post new photos every now and then so they can see him grow. If we neglect to post new pictures for about a months, we get emails, posts and phone calls urging us to post some new pictures.

    We also have very dear friends who are currently spread out all over the world and who have gotten married and have children of their own that we haven't seen and it helps us keep in touch and share the joy with each other.

    In addition to that specific purpose, i have been able to reconnect with friends that i had lost touch with. People i used to work with and hangout with but lost track of each other for various reasons. People i knew from college early on, etc...

    The assumption that everyone who uses facebook is somehow an attention whore is ludicrous at best.
  18. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    Careful, BrainPaint is on the prowl.

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