IT Employment

Hiring manager: Step away from the Facebook!

Job candidates texting hiring managers is one thing, but what if the hiring manager sends the job candidate a Facebook invitation?

Job candidates texting hiring managers is one thing, but what if the hiring manager sends the job candidate a Facebook invitation?

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Remember the blog I wrote about how some job-hunters are text-messaging thank you notes to hiring managers and how, for the most part, it's ticking those hiring managers off? After that blog published, I got a letter from a TechRepublic member who said the exact opposite just happened to him. Apparently, just after he'd finished a phone interview with a recruiter for a worldwide Internet-related company, he got an invite to be her friend on Facebook.

"To be honest, my face is in no book, I have no space, I'm neither linked in, nor linked out. I just don't have any interest in social networking. But this person will be making a decision as to whether or not my resume should be forwarded to a hiring manager. Help!!"

Well, that's fairly awkward! Is it a test on the part of the recruiter to weed out the less "linked in" for purposes of the job being filled? Or is it a way for her to keep track of the candidates she's talked to instead of using an Excel spreadsheet? Is she another one of those people who use the word "friend" in the social networking sense and not like the rest of North America uses it (unless you're a Quaker, I guess). I think it's a pretty weird assumption on the hiring manager's part.

I wouldn't be comfortable with something like this. How about you?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

112 comments
antoine_a_z
antoine_a_z

hello there, i think u should go with the flow in here and add here, look at the bright side in it, u will have a recruiter on your friend's list that will open maybe in the future for you many job opportunities in case u didn't get this one. cheers and take it easy, Antoine

arslanw3k
arslanw3k

Hiring manager is one who is responsible for hiring the right person on right time on right place. One of the most technical and interesting job is to recruit. You don't have knowledge about social network or social group forums then you can not become a good hiring manager. One more thing is that, manager select the forum according to their requirement as if they want young fresh and passionate PA or secretary then face book like forum are good but if some one is finding Managers then believe me you are simply wasting your time on face book like web sites. face book is not for job hunting purpose remember.

Sand Tech
Sand Tech

Great article, I just want to give my take on this. I worked in retail while going to school. Use to be manager for cashiers. I am one of those hiring manager that use to look at myspace, and look at profile's. to screen people. Hated to see comments how drunk they got on Tuesday night, drama in there life. rudeness in profile. It reflect personality of that person am hiring. Some people won the job and some people lost the job. before I even interviewed the person, I knew there personality through there profile.

dw1
dw1

It may or may not be a good idea, but a hiring manager get learn a lot about a person that they may not get in an interview by checking out their profile.

derek
derek

I understand the pluses and minuses of social networking sites... we all have our preferences.... I particularly like Facebook and Linkedin from a networking aspect... Thankfully, for the content of your article... you can IGNORE things on facebook without the sender knowing you did so (one of my favorite features for the invites I get to causes, stupid applications, ect) you don't hurt their feelings... and if your asked... just say no... I find that MAD inviter's are the same ones that if they had your email address would send you the forwarded hoaxes from 1994 as well...finally... just as a policy... I tell folks... if you would not put a stamp on it, then dont send it.... social networking is a little different in that SOCIAL and NETWORKING are what these sites are about so turning down the invitation to add the 'toe nail clipping" application is something that is going to happen... but then again..... IGNORE is a great thing... further, the Linkedin invitations I have received are from professionals... the site is so confusing and weird that you have to be a professional to have a profile so when I usually receive an invitation... I say yes because just by the fact that the person could figure out linkedin... says something...

tungstendiadem
tungstendiadem

Not sound as if I am encouraging litigiousness, but why not accept the friendvite? For starters you can always delete the person if things turn south. You have a record of your interactions, that might weigh in in civil suit should things go really south. You also have the opportunity to cull contacts from his/her contacts, and contacts' contacts. At the very least it represents an opportunity to expand you network to include more people who may in the future have heard of an opportunity for you. Why not be friends with someone on the inside and give them a link to your constantly evolving dosier? Resumes are short and impersonal and never contain everything you should mention but your profile one day might.

chibibarako
chibibarako

Facebook is a social utility. It's where you hang out with your sports buddies etc. I don't WANT hiring managers looking at my Facebook, any more than I'm going to give them my gocubsgo@chicago.com e-mail address. MySpace is a bit of a dinosaur, but it's still very social rather than professional. LinkedIn is a little more professional, but threatens to go social in order to keep business coming in. There's also the risk that the things that companies aren't allowed to ask you about (race, creed, marital status) are going to pop up on your Facebook page and block you before you get a chance.

kimjrodriguez
kimjrodriguez

I would say that it was a test to really find out who this person was. Facebook and Myspace is a place on the internet where people show who they really are in person. I think that this is a good example of moral value versus netiquette.

joe_deluca
joe_deluca

hiring mgr just may have smthng else in mind. might be good idea if u propose going for drink and cut-to-the-chase instead.

driley
driley

Alterior motive possible - I have heard that some employers are browsing facebook to see what type of character the person has. Teachers and others are warned about what type of content they are putting on their personal spaces as employers can snoop. I think it is personal space and should remain personal. I would decline the friend invitation from an employer.

RobarddeGuerre
RobarddeGuerre

Did it ever cross anyone's mind that the guy was being hit on? Grooming conquests through social networks is part of the game. Just because getting hired is number one on this guy's agenda doesn't mean it's number one on the recruiter's. Once a social link is established, there's a nice audit trail of the guy's "predatory" behavior if it's needed.

Al_nyc
Al_nyc

Best thing to do is not use your personal email account for business contacts. Then you won't be in that situation. If you want, you can set up a facebook account using your business account and accept an invite to that account, but I would pass on any business contact to my personal facebook account.

michelle
michelle

it seems that most people's social networking profiles are personal and contain certain opinions that it would be illegal of an employer to ask during an interview. isn't there another article around here that explicitly advises against looking up applicants on social networking sites before making hiring decisions?

techrepublic
techrepublic

I think I'll add that to my own hiring practice. Ask everyone that applies to be my "friend" in facebook after the first round of interviews. Only those that respond with "sorry I don't have a facebook account" make it to the next round.

chad
chad

It seems like a pretty transparent tactic to weed out undesirable hires by checking their facebook account for content. It's unprofessional and could be grounds for discrimination if that person is not hired. Facebook is what you make of it. It has its purposes, and it's no one's place to deem it "a waste" for everyone. That's up to the individual user (or non-user). It is known, however, that companies allowing it past the firewall have shown an increase in internet traffic and a decrease in productivity. That may be due to a lack of policy. I keep my work out of facebook and facebook out of my work.

rkeren
rkeren

We???re talking about an ???internet related company.??? If this is a media industry company or some other business that prides itself on being in tune with social networking then they are sending out the signal that this is who they are, and this is what the candidate should expect. One might even say that they would prefer to hire someone who is active in Web communities. It???s the candidate's responsibility to ensure that their Facebook or LinkedIn page is appropriate for the job position. For the candidate who is not comfortable sharing personal information with potential employees I???d recommend setting up a business only account. Decline the offer to join the personal page, and invite the employer to your professional page. For the candidate that???s put off by the whole thing ??? find an employer that???s better fit you.

cfisher411
cfisher411

This is a good opportunity to take advantage of the situation. If this person is that anonymous on social media networks then it's surprising they got an interview in the first place. Accept the invitation and start a Facebook page that paints you in the best possible light. Ditto with LinkedIn, etc. These sites can be a great addition to your resume if you do it right. It's just a fact of life that these are the places recruiters go for candidates, right or wrong. So be proactive, take control of your personal brand online, stuff those sites with appropriate keywords, and let the jobs come to you.

patclem
patclem

Yea, that's kinda weird. But, times are a changing. We have Generation Y moving into the workforce at great speed. No space to explain everything that makes them happy, but this is their life. Your business doesn't have a Myspace account? You may be missing a marketing opportunity to this generation. We've spent a ton of time studying generational diversity at work these days. Baby Boomers and even Generation X, you'd better get used to it. Generation Y'ers out there, the Boomers and X'ers may very well not hire you if they learn something from your Facebook that they shouldn't even know. "Sign says long haired freaky people - need not apply" is sometimes the unwritten rule. They'll consider your request unprofessional, and you see it in the comments thus far. Use this method with great caution. PS - If I were hiring, I'd think it was quite cool and progressive. I'd be preparing my group for new technologies and create a dynamic on my team of Boomers. By the way - I'm an X-er.

bioteck
bioteck

One thing I haven???t see mention here. HR\Recruiters\Hiring Managers will go out and check your Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn pages to see what kind of pictures you have up , who you are friends with, and if even if you can spell. Theses social networks (which I am a member of) are allowing you to take your private information and make it public. So if you or your friends have pictures of a lost week-end, it could mean the loss of a job opportunity. Solution- Lock your account so only friends can see it and make sure your portfolio picture isn???t something too risky. Also make sure to think twice about what kind of information you want the world to know about.

Michael_Knight
Michael_Knight

I was scared to even go on Facebook because I know recruiters and HR departments judge you based on what you have up there, or worst judge you based on the people you associate with, and I wouldn't want somebody I haven't seen since high school to stop me from getting a job because they have 4 tongue piercings that I don't know about

djl4fzw
djl4fzw

A positive spin on "Hire me and we'll talk about it." :)

Joyce.Lippens
Joyce.Lippens

FaceBook? MySpace? I thought these were for online dating.....why should it matter how many people I have "linked in"....I have all my outside contacts in Outlook and can email them from there...don't need to show the world I have that many "friends"....duh!

rudidegrande
rudidegrande

I have reserved LinkedIn, Plaxo for professional relations, and facebook, myspace for real friendships and family. Think twice before you accept an invitation, and if needed, propose an alternative to connect.

jlh
jlh

You can always delete connections when they become useless. On LinkedIn, the more people you know, the more you can contact. If you are in headhunting or internal recruiting, this can be a very useful tool. If you decide you do not want to link to that person at all, simply archive the request until you are clear of any fall out and then decline it later. You can then claim that you do not check it for messages that often (as many say about their personal e-mail accounts these days). Issue here? None, unless you allow there to be one.

ahmoun
ahmoun

With some networking sites, the software kindly offers to search and contact everyone in your email address book, and does so almost by default, before you realise exactly what this means. Hi5 is one such. It could have just been a naive error. A colleague uses an alias on Facebook for anonimity, but that overcomes one prime objective of registering on Facebook, that is, long lost aquaintances can find you.

makkh
makkh

I've read several posts by others where I feel quite true. I strongly agree that there is no necessity for interviewer trying to obtain interviewee's facebook or other similar more-personal info & network. If he/she really needs to organize the contact list, he/she can refer to e-mail instead.

Spooky The Misanthrope
Spooky The Misanthrope

Anyone who uses MySpace or Facebook to learn about a potential employee is being lazy and positively moronic. A potential candidate is not looking for a date, but employment. Those things are personal, and should not be expected to reflect professional character.

grahambanks
grahambanks

Maybe responding by saying you're not on Facebook is a response that would put you in a better light, showing you're mature and not interested in frivolous social networking sites. Maybe that's what she was looking for.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

Toni, Toni, Toni! I am telling Sonja that you are posting up really creepy stuff and ruining my ideas for good campfire stories to scare coworkers with! :) I know a couple of recruiters have approached me based on having seen my name here, but I really do try to keep my professional and personal life totally separate from my online pursuits. I have friends that would be horrified to know that professional contacts would be out looking at their social engineering sites and discover they are into partner swapping, sexual practices that might be viewed as bizarre by some and a whole host of other things. I guess being known as that architect that blogs about weird movies and comic books ain't so bad in retrospect. I just want to know where the nerd groupies are. Surely somewhere some exist? Back to subject here, I am sure it was purely a recruiter trying to keep up with potential candidates using a new technology, but just imagine that your recruiter has some psychological issues and now KNOWS your contact information. There is a whole money-making horror movie franchise waiting in that one, something like the Saw crossed with The Office. Sonja might have heard of some freaky real life stuff, but she can't beat me on total weirdness! haha

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

looking through myspace for -- cahier positions??? Must have been some store! Ok, here is one for you then. Have you ever turned down an applicant (or applicants) because you couldnt get in on their personal life through a website? What if they told you that they didnt have an account -- would that disqualify them?

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

In any interaction between the genders in the workplace, the rule of thumb is to keep it totally professional. Although I know work relationships occur, I have never thought it was a good idea. Too much risk of someone who gets upset at you to cite "friending" on the site as some sort of sexual harassment because they're upset at being dumped, and although that's generally considered female accusing male, I believe it can go the other way. I am with those who counsel to say no, and defer based on a preference to keep work and social life separate.

magic1
magic1

I agree. Since my wife works in HR it caused me to think more about that. Considering the laws in place ( in California anyway )that prevent employers from asking all the qualifying questions they would like in a interview I can understand why they might scan these sites looking for more information about prospective employees. It's really kind of a clever way of circumventing some unnecessary restrictions in determining whether your someone they really want working for them. It's all a part of the information highway eh. I'm not implying my wife does this. We've never talked about it, but knowing what she goes through in interviews I could see why some might.

kkopp
kkopp

I would take that one step farther. I wouldn't have anyone from work on my facebook page from work. Here's why: I was talking to my CEO's executive assistant and she was looking people up on the internet for him. She does this on her own to stay on his good side. She was pulling up a resume of an employee that we were about to let go.

kimjrodriguez
kimjrodriguez

There is always the possibility of them finding you via the networks set up that Facebook has. I don't think it is a good idea.

seanferd
seanferd

There is another article on the subject of which you write. In this case, however, it is about a potential employer asking the applicant to "friend"* her on SpaceBook. The employer is not necessarily looking up the applicant's profile, if extant. At least, that isn't the particular focus of this article. Employers who check out job candidates on MySpace could be legally liable * Last I checked, "friend" wasn't a verb. :p

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

It is petty. Of course also as you mention, a fact of life, like it or not. Proving you weren't hired because of Facebook would be pretty difficult, though...

btd
btd

Actually I think it's the best reference that a hiring manager could get. Resumes can be doctored, personal references can be plants, but if you look at their Facebook page and their favorites are listed as death metal, hangin' with his "buds" on the couch, and YouTube videos of smashing kittens with a sledge hammer... do you want that type of person in your company? It could give you a little more insight on who this person is, not just who they want you to think they are to get a job.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

Mine wants nothing to do with social networking sites but I have one. Go figure. It really does depend on the person. My Gen Y says all online friends are on mutual interest or hobby sites, and that's all that's needed; if they were on FaceBook or MySpace it wouldn't make any difference to the contact for my Gen Y.

dprows
dprows

Depending on the position, what is on your Facebook or Myspace could be relevant to a potential employer. Many perceive you as the face of the organization. A companies reputation could be destroyed by what is on someone's social site. Agreed that much of this could be limited to only "friends," but what you do on your personal time could affect how the business is viewed by the public (especially if you are in a management position). A couple of the placess I have worked have had policies that state if you are arrested/convicted of illegal activity that you will be terminated immediately. They have also stated that if you do something in your personal time that affects the business in a negative way that you may be terminated. To me, this is very understandable. However, I do not necessarily think that it is appropriate for them to ask about being a friend on Facebook after an interview.

kandyass
kandyass

but ""When I'm brought on board, I look forward to accepting your invitation." A positive spin on "Hire me and we'll talk about it." :)" ..is pretty good too.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

I opened a Facebook account to reconnect with a friend from my spouse's days in the military and have found a few more people with whom I'd lost contact. I don't care how many "friends" I hav compared to others, and if others think that's some sort of competition, that's their problem. I just like staying in touch with people and meeting someone new. Happily married 35 plus years and NOT dating; I have a Lincoln Town Car, a totally class act spouse, I don't need to try out a VW bug to make sure I have the best out there.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

People are nosy by nature. And if something's out there, they'll use it to see what sort of person you are. It's a shame, but basically, we can't have a personal life or privacy in this world anymore, and I fully realize if I post or use a social or business networking site, that it is opening myself to scrutiny. I like the opportunity to rekindle friendships from people with whom I've lost contact; my spouse is retired military and in all the moves, I've lost track of some folks I'd like to find again. Plus, there's a chance to get acquainted with others who share your interests. Some people are mostly homebound outside of work due to their own physical condition or caregiving (sometimes both), and this is a way for them to stay in touch with others. Please give them a break and don't condemn these sites out of hand.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

I do agree with posts that indicate the poster believes it was likely some sort of test. Maybe the person wanted to know if you used the latest technology or were fully aware of same. The person might also be interested in knowing if you separate that sort of thing from your business life if you do use it - as well as whether or not you are willing to see office personnel in any way outside of work or not. I don't see the harm in using these sites judiciously, but I do think you need to be very careful how and what you post, including political and religious views. If you post them at all, make sure you are stating YOUR views, and state that others may make whatever (legal) choices they want for their life and you won't try and push your beliefs onto them.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I don't want to setup a flicker site but I do want to share photos with a preaproved list of people like distributed family members. I don't want to join the latest mutant-ninja-zombie-nighted-barbarian applet game but I do want to remain in contact with close friends traveling that won't use skype, IM or regular email communication. I wouldn't say it's simply being more mature when your using it only for the basic functions it provides rather than the truly frivolous "pay attention to me, pay attention to me" add-on applets.

mktgurl
mktgurl

Even if you post your resume on a job board, recruiters have full access (if you allow it) to all of your contact info.. your email, phone, address, and your entire work history. And, you may just get recruitment requests from the work-at-home MLM industry. There is at least some level of common sense involved with choosing who you respond to. Just because the phone rings doesn't mean you have to pick it up. That's what Caller ID is for. These social networking sites enable users to catch a glimpse of whoever is trying to contact them. Also, because recruiters are now checking across social networking sites for additional information about prospective candidates, it doesn't hurt to put your own PR out on those networking sites.

MurphysAcolyte
MurphysAcolyte

That's both funny and hits a little too close to home. I don't know whether to laugh or 'Run Away!!! Run Away!!!' (of course in a funky British accent)

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

know them to be, and sadly they're all male too. - (he sneaks off stage left with a low evil laugh).

seanferd
seanferd

"Social engineering sites." Quote of the day.

Sand Tech
Sand Tech

It was a big giant retail store, and no had all the names. it was easy filtering, and it help a lot with turn over... Don't put too much info on myspace and facebook. Don't make them public they are for you and your friends not the world.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

But I will admit it's gotten rather more fluid lately...business makes its own verbs, though, some of which are kind of silly sounding to outsiders. I think we tend to create a "verb" from a "noun" as a shortcut when we can't think of something more concise to say and we know it will express the thought, even if it sounds silly. As I recall, "network" used to be just a noun, too...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Inhuman animal treatment asside, how is hanging with my buds relevant to an employer provided my weekend recreation does not effect my professional performance? How does my friends love of deathmetal effect my profesional performance? If a friend's profile picture is him giving the finger, is that going to be counted against me? For sensative jobs, they are already running background checks so facebook is redundant. For non-sensative jobs, why is facebook relevant when a background check is not? Professionalism means a reasonable seporation of personal life and work life. Judging my personal life is not relevant to how I conduct my professional life in most job possitions. There are limits and the ease of obtaining information does not negate the acceptability of those limits.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

social engineering sights. Uggh, there are some weird social engineering sights around, just ask any young man who's been introduced to the daughters of his mother's friends of his grandmother's friends granddaughters.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

for hiring managers as well now. "they are for you and your friends not the world." So going by this, why were you looking there in the first place? I see how it can play a role, however, what if they do not have an account for you to snoop/pry into their personal lives? Have you hired anyone that did not have an account?

seanferd
seanferd

They could quite potentially be too young to even shake hands.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

No genetic relationship between the young man and the woman. There appears to be a generational difference between the young man and the woman in question. i.e. He's an adult and she's still a child.