Facebook is one of the world's most popular social media websites with nearly 350 million users around the world. Facebook provides an easy and effective way to keep in contact with friends and family no matter where they might be located. Facebook has always been an area for just that, friends and family, but recently Facebook has become a part of the job application process.According to the Microsoft "Online Reputation in a Connected World" survey, it was discovered that 70% of hiring managers in the United States have rejected an applicant based on what they have found online. The survey found people were rejected for things such as inappropriate comments, photos, videos, trash talking of previous employers or coworkers, and sometimes even comments friends and relatives left for an applicant.
People lucky enough to already have landed a job and wish to remain on their company's payroll services, or people looking to avoid being denied a job are encouraged to take privacy tightening steps for specifically their Facebook page. A lot of people looking to enter the work force are employing strategies to hide their Facebook from employers like changing their name. Many users are changing their name to a nickname, swapping the middle for the last name, or creating an entirely new persona as a way to keep employers in the dark.
In an interview with CNN, Elana Borchers stated that even though she has a job she still changed her Facebook name. While Borchers asserts she has nothing incriminating on her personal page, there are just some things she would like to keep private from her employer, like her photos. She comments that being enrolled in a Big Ten school means her college already carries the reputation of excessive partying , and while that might have been a part of her college, it is not part of her future or her work ethic. When questioned why she just doesn't delete the photos she said she felt these photos are her memories of college, and are just that,memories of the past for her, not her employer.
The Online Reputation in a Connected World also found that 79% of United States companies use the Internet to pre-screen applicants. When Michigan State University junior Justin Gawel was questioned by CNN about employers looking at peoples Facebook's as a determining factor in employment, he said it made him feel 'uncomfortable' to say the least. Gawel says Facebook is intended for friends, NOT employers, and ones Facebook page does little to demonstrate their capacity to do the job for which they are applying.
Gawel also commented like Elana Borchers on the photos which Facebook provides per user. He says it's frustrating because people do not take pictures of people doing homework, studying, or preparing for the job for which they are applying. People take pictures of people doing silly things, which employers might not find so funny.
Dan Eggers of Parternets Marketing Group in Georgia is a part of the 79% which uses the Internet to assess applicants. Eggers says his company looks at applicants by google-ing their name, looking at their LinkedIn profiles, Facebook profiles and Twitter posts. This use of the Internet to search people is concerning for every active Internet user because of the mere fact that websites are almost impossible to eliminate therefore becoming a basic history tracker of a person.
While employers are unlikely to join in applicant's disdain of being searched, there are protection steps for social media users. Facebook offers users ways to tighten settings like hiding photos, and wall posts. And even that might not be enough because people can be searched by their email address, school, and network. This may prove that employers are uninterested in learning about applicants based solely on their work abilities, and may be more concerned with a person's Facebook page.