They’re Watching You

The Wall Street Journal posted an article a few days ago regarding the growing usage of Social Media as a screening tool for employers. The WSJ article bases its claims off of a CareerBuilder study which polled approximately 2000 hiring managers. Two out of five companies actively check:

-LinkedIn: Should be a given nowadays

-Facebook and Twitter: The two reasons no one will be able to successfully run for president in our generation

-MySpace: Seriously? Good luck gleaning anything about anyone from Myspace

No doubt social media will be generation Y’s undoing. Based on a convenience sample of my own friends on facebook, I can confidently say that only 80% of people with facebook profiles will never get a job with the 40% of companies who use social media to screen candidates (assuming my observational data is generalizable).


Fearing my own employability, I sought out the most sophisticated methods to hide my facebook page from employers. proposes the following steps to make your profile a regular Fort Knox:

-Step 1. Check your privacy settings: Very familiar with these. I don’t think my mom can even see my profile picture at this point.

-Step 2. Create friends lists: Not sure how this helps unless the ex girlfriends who currently occupy my limited friends list are going to employ me, and I don’t think having them on a limited friends list would help my chances anyway.

-Step 3. Readjust Your privacy settings: What the? Ohhh this explains why I can’t write on some peoples walls. You can make portions of your profile limited to everyone. Thus, fully rendering your presence on facebook useless.

-Step 4. Be prepared for the future: Expect the unexpected I guess?

Whew, I can sleep soundly now that I know employers can’t find me. Oh wait, I seem to recall being told once upon a time about software that can actually bypass the facebook privacy settings fortress. Turns out, this is actually true. There is actually an industry for this sort of thing. Check out CrewRevu’s mission statement:

“Our mission is to provide efficient, innovative social screening services to customers in the employment space so that hiring processes can be made easier and more effective.”

To make matters worse, according to jobsearchjungle it is also common practice for employers to make you log onto your facebook profile during an interview. It is certainly not the most ethical practice, but desperate job applicants generally don’t have a leg to stand on in these situationsso it’s effective. However, we can all take solace in the fact that big name companies like Sears don’t do this sort of thing. Lucky for me, my miscellaneous Arts classes are going to make me such an interesting store greeter

Here are a few tips that might actually do you some good. Might being the operative word.

  1. untag yourself from embarrassing posts and picture: This may prove futile if Facebook’s face recognition software is ever applied
  2. Go through your timeline and delete wall posts: Timeline was an unwelcome blast to the past, and wall posts circa 2007 aren’t going to make you look like much of an impressive job candidate.
  3. Edit your name: Make it harder for them to find you – this too is useless of course in the event that employers make you log on in front of them
  4. Delete your account: I have little hope for this one, as our generation is more likely to willfully give up their right hand than go offline.



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