Tech & Work

Job hunting, Facebook, and privacy settings

If you think your social media presence is safe from the prying eyes of potential employers just because you've tightened your privacy settings, you could be wrong.

Career management bloggers have advised IT pros ad nauseum about the dangers of posting questionable content on their social media sites when they're looking for a job. (Not surprisingly, the industry that is the most prone to screening social sites is IT (63 percent).

We've done everything just short of physically smacking people upside the head.

Some people say that their Facebook accounts are their business and they can put anything they want there-that they wouldn't want to work for a company that wouldn't hire them for something they put on their personal page.   Fair enough. Just know that many corporations don't make a huge effort to hire folks who have listed snuff films as a hobby.

Some people say that all you have to do is adjust your privacy settings so that potential employers can't see anything. That is also fair. But remember that even people not listed as Friends can see your profile picture. (In other words, if your profile picture shows you drinking beer from a funnel, while simultaneously posing with your arm around a cardboard cutout of Hitler, don't expect a second interview.)

In addition, privacy settings can be circumvented if a potential employer is motivated enough. Heed this warning from work.chron.com:

If a recruiter who's considering you for a role knows one of your Facebook friends, she could quite easily get access to your pages. More unscrupulous employers might even go as far as trying to hack your account. If you're worried about possible employers viewing your Facebook content, keep everything you post clean and professional.

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.

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