That Whole “Shoulder-Surfing Facebook Accounts At Job Interviews” Thing? It’s Probably Not Really Happening

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I think the folk tale of employers asking to see a candidate’s Facebook account was apocryphal at best, but it seems like it’s even being debunked in HR circles. Andy Lester a blogger on high-tech career-hunting, has noted that the tale, which surfaced in an AP story a few weeks ago, has been picked up as an example of the horrible state of hiring in this country. Pundits have opined, ink has been spilled, and now interviewees are ready to go into future places of work full of righteous indignation, just waiting for the mention of Facebook. But for the most part it’s an urban legend.

First, most social media accounts are an open book in the first place. I suspect potential recruiters pop over to Google to look up potential hires and I expect the reverse is true. The idea that a recruiter is interested in seeing you drunk at a party is far-fetched (unless you’re working at a place that you probably wouldn’t want to work at anyway) and a healthy social media presence isn’t much of a hindrance anymore.

Lester writes:

Is it plausible that this practice is widespread, and getting moreso? Sure, it’s plausible. Our privacy erodes every day, and millions of us do it through Facebook willingly. The story has the feel of truthiness. Doesn’t it just seem like the thing that Big Business would do to us? We already piss in cups to prove that we’re drug-free so that we can come in and shuffle paper.

Generally it feels like employers are in the cat-bird seat and can basically make us do anything they ask. I don’t think that’s true. Hiring is up and good folks in the tech sector are as sought-after as they were before the crash. Management candidates may have to pee into a cup in order to control cash at a company, but I doubt Facebook usage is a very good metric for hiring in any case.

Besides, shouldn’t you have two social media presences, one professional and one private? And why are you posting drunk pics of yourself in the first place? In many cases it’s a buyers market out there and job seekers, alongside the usual concerns with buying a new suit and printing out a resume, have to be well aware of the reach and impact of their online presence.

via News.Ycombinator.