In this modern age of advanced technology, employers now have the ability to follow you out the door even after the interview is over.
The prominent rise of social networking websites being utilized as a screening tool for employers is increasing in numbers.
“I’ve seen students get hired, start the job and get terminated because of Facebook. I’ve seen that happen with student jobs on campus,” said Lisa Sanders, a program coordinator at the Internship and Career Center. “It’s common, and it’s something people don’t think about until it happens.”
Sanders said that using initials instead of your real name and controlling privacy setting are important.
“Even among the tightest-knit, strongest privacy settings, I would always ask myself, ‘Would I want the CEO of Google seeing this? Is it really worth it?'” she said. “Students should realize the long-term consequences of their professional futures.”
According to Facebook, 350 million users have accounts, half of whom log on daily.
Brandon Petitt, associate director for Student Housing’s office of student development, supervises a number of staff who are responsible for hiring. He said Student Housing does not have the time or resources to screen applicants on Facebook. Future employees however, undergo a background check at the police station upon being hired.
“Because they have direct access to residence hall spaces, there are certain safety and security expectations that students and their families have,” Petitt said.
Tom Morris, a senior political science major said it didn’t feel that Facebook was that important when applying to internships.
“When I was applying to internships, I didn’t think twice about it at all. I hope it didn’t affect any of the internships I applied to. It wasn’t something that really crossed my mind much at all,” said Morris.
Ali McKenna, senior international relations major, said she has always made her profile private.
“I don’t add my bosses until after the internship is over with,” she said. “One of my bosses has a completely different Facebook for people at work and one with her personal friends and contacts. My old roommate has a lot of friends who changed their name by using a random name or their middle name while applying to college.”
Junior international relations and economics double major David Green had similar experiences with employers during the UC Davis Washington DC program.
“My employers in Washington mentioned that they’ve looked up employees on Facebook,” Green said.
Green said he un-tags pictures of himself to avoid jeopardizing potential job opportunities.
“I’m friends with [my employers] now for networking purposes. It’s made me realize that Facebook is a very public outlet. … It’s extremely important to keep your profile relatively clean if you want to get a job,” Green said.
In addition to taking privacy precautions, Sanders recommends that job-seeking students consider getting a Linkedin account.
Linkedin is a professionally minded social networking site. In addition to listing job experience and qualifications, users can establish connections with each other in order to find job opportunities.
“One of the strongest advantages of creating a Linkedin account is that it allows you to counteract the effect you are creating through Facebook that’s very personal in nature,” Sanders said. “Linkedin helps you create your professional branding.”
MICHELLE RICK can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.