When we log onto our social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, we tend to use this to unwind with our thoughts and express our opinions. I mean, after all, we do have the right to free speech, right? Just because it is online does not mean it should stop with limitations; we should not need to watch what we say or do, right? Actually, employers say otherwise. You have the right to free speech, except when someone is watching. According the The Huffington Post, employers will actually skim through your profile on Facebook before offering you a job (Ryan 2013). This concept seemed really bazaar to me, considering this is your place to be social, not to necessarily be professional. Don’t get me wrong; I know we are supposed to watch what we say, however, to what extent?
Once I found out that employers would actually read through your Facebook profile; I asked myself, what exactly are they looking for? Are they looking for you with a drink in your hand, political views, concepts on life, I mean what exactly are they looking for? I went browsing through different research areas to find the reasoning for the madness. One of the first sites I visited was nolo.com. On this website they offer legal assistance and provide legal insight. They noted that it is very legal for employers to look at your Facebook page. Employers report rejecting job applicants when they find references to drug use, heavy drinking, sexually offensive materials, violent imagery, and so on (Guerin). Of course reading this information I had many concerns. For instance, we share, like, and comment on a lot of posts that are not relevant to our lives per say. Some things just spark our interest. For instance, if I am into advertising in the beer sector and I repost or comment and share a lot of their ads does not make me a heavy drinker. However, by reading my profile, you have already made a determination about me that may not be true. With this same information I reviewed how legal this was. Although it is legal to review these public profiles, there are legal limitations when it comes to reading a profile. For instance if a profile is viewed it can reveal if you are pregnant, your race, your culture practices, and your age, which can all lead to discrimination lawsuits.
With this information being available to anyone it is important to have a professional online presence. Although this should not be the end all be all for a job candidate, it is obviously being looked upon as a reference in the hiring process. This seems like an unfair way of doing things but if that is what your employer’s looks to, it needs to be cleaned up. Take steps of cleaning your page:
- Make sure there is not any crazy spam leading to sexual exploitation on your page.
- Steer clear of curse words in your statuses.
- Choose the picture that doesn’t include you with a drink in your hand.
- Don’t upload so many wild party pictures on your page.
If you are going to post theses things then be sure that your page is very private. Remember, you have the right to free speech… Except on Facebook!
Guerin, L. (n.d.). Can Potential Employers Check Your Facebook Page? | Nolo.com. Nolo.com. Retrieved July 8, 2014, from http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-potential-employers-check-your-facebook-page.html
Ryan, R. (2013, March 4). Yes, Employers Will Check Your Facebook Before Offering You a Job. The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 8, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-ryan/hiring-facebook_b_2795047.html