Social networking websites such as facebook.com and myspace.com have become a staple of our culture among teens and young adults. With such a plethora of information and multimedia readily available on the Internet, it’s not hard to believe a business owner or employer would use such resources to dig up more information about prospective employees.
Some may think it is unethical for employers to research an applicant’s background information on Facebook. What an employer sees on an applicant’s Facebook profile may not necessarily reflect how he or she will perform at work, but it will have an influence on the employer’s initial impressions prior to an interview. Regardless of the ethical implications, applicants should protect themselves.
Next time you look through your Facebook profile, ask yourself some questions: What type of impression does it give? Is it something you want your grandmother or employer to see?
Facebook and MySpace do offer privacy settings that filter the viewers and public content of your profile. Unfortunately, not many people make use of this feature and leave their potentially incriminating content open to the public. For those who do take advantage of privacy settings, you should still be wary of what you post online. A simple privacy setting is not a foolproof way of censoring the content in your profile.
Regardless of the privacy settings you may or may not have enabled, anything posted on your profile is fair game for employers to look at; there are currently no laws prohibiting businesses from using social-networking websites for background checks on applicants, and there may not be for some time. If you choose to post something about yourself on a medium as public and widespread as the Internet, you have only yourself to blame if it comes back to haunt you.
Think twice next time you decide to post and tag those awesome new party photos on your Facebook profile.