Wednesday, 28. March 2012
Robert Siegel, host of the award-winning NPR program All Things Considered, recently interviewed Robert Collins, a now previous employee of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. During a routine return-to-work interview, Collins was asked to submit his Facebook username and password as part of the application process.
It may sound shocking, but this is something that has become common practice, so much so that states such as Illinois and Maryland are now putting through legislation that would ban the practice.
Just when you thought setting your privacy settings was enough to dissuade potential employers from creepin’ out your Facebook profile, in order to now land that job, you may have to actually hand over full control of your Facebook account.
Since setting your privacy settings to limited will no longer be sufficient, the only recourse is a complete overhaul of your Facebook profile. Here are some areas to pay particular attention to:
This should go without saying, but if you are looking for a job, your profile picture should reflect the mature, educated and responsible person you are trying to portray. A picture of you half naked, or doing a keg stand, (or both), probably won’t help your cause.
It may be kind of fun to share pictures of you getting wasted at a tropical resort with your friends, but if your potential employer now has full access to your account, these types of albums may be safer on your home computer, where only you have access to them.
Tagged Photos / Places
Isn’t it great that Facebook basically allows anyone to tag you in a photo or sign you into a place? Your friends might think it is funny to see pictures of you passed out or know that you just went into the local strip bar, but I’m sure your hiring manager won’t. Before you begin your job search remove any tagged photos that can be incriminating and turn off the ability for others to sign you into places.
This is one spot that typically gets overlooked. When you first opened your Facebook account you may have put a whole slew of interests, quotes and other nonsensical garbage on your info page. Remember to clean up the page as well, and just because it is a quote from a movie, it doesn’t mean your boss will know it, understand it, or not be offended by it.
Finally, we’ve reached hit dreaded Wall. When it comes to Facebook, it’s not only your own actions that you have to worry about, but also those that leave comments on your profile. Delete any unsavory comments made by friends, and don’t forget to clean up your own status updates as well. If they are anything like the samples below, they can be just as bad, if not worse:
If you are not a big fan of self-censorship, you have two final options:
1) Create a second Facebook profile used solely for business interactions
2) Delete your Facebook account altogether
You can read the full transcript of Robert Siegel’s interview with Robert Collins here.