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Social network could equal no work when bosses stalk

When searching for a job, the social networking many people enjoy could lead to them not being hired.

Many companies, no matter the size, tend to look at potential employees’ social networking profiles before or after an interview to get an understanding of what kind of person they are.

According to Facebook.com, more than 500 million people have a profile. Many people use Facebook to stay in contact with friends, but how much they decide to share with friends could potentially hurt their chances of a career.

With about 1,200 students graduating from Oswego State last spring, looking to start a career would be one of their first priorities, according to Gary Morris, director of the Compass. Students need to be very wary of any information that will reflect poorly on them, he advised.

“There are some employers during an interview that will pull out a laptop and say ‘let’s take a look at your Facebook page,’” Morris said. “This can either mean good news or bad news depending on what your Facebook page is.”

Morris has seen the trials and tribulations that social networking sites can bring for a potential employee, and believes that before a person creates one of these accounts, that person needs to consider if it will actually be useful in their future.

“Students have to consider is it worth having that Facebook account or blog because all that information is out there forever,” Morris said. “The Internet doesn’t have a delete key and with all the advanced searching mechanisms, it isn’t hard to find anything. So if you even put it out there, even once, assume it is out there forever.”

No matter the size of the company, employers like to check up on what a potential employee has on their Facebook accounts. One of these companies is the Palladium Times in Oswego, N.Y.

Sarah McCrobie, news editor at The Palladium Times, has experienced how the use of looking at someone’s Facebook profile is a good determining factor for whether that person would be a good fit for the company.

“In addition to the interview process, we will also check out their Facebook site to see if there is anything that is an indication that they wouldn’t be a good fit and usually it is the wouldn’t rather than the would,” McCrobie said.

The Palladium Times tries to hire an intern every semester and through the years McCrobie has seen situations during the interview process that the student appears to be a good fit, until they found some questionable content on their Facebook page. But she said that she has also seen that when they find a candidate who has a clean Facebook and appears to be a good worker, they have always turned out to be a good worker.

Some companies that use Facebook and other social networking sites do not always use it to check up on a person before hiring them, but to either get to know the person better or make sure they won’t be hurting the company’s reputation.

This can be said for the COMFORCE Corporation out based of Syracuse, N.Y. They are a staffing company that deals with temporary staffing and permanent placement. Linda Steele, sales director, likes the approach COMFORCE takes with its use of Facebook.

“We don’t use it for weeding people out, but to get to know them a little better and to network with people,” Steele said. “It is a nice way to learn about people and to see what they like. But we have also checked up on people that have not worked out for us and we see someone that got fired, took another job and now they are looking again already which leads us to believe they got fired again. So there would be no way we would work with them again because we can see that there is a big problem there.”

There are still some companies, like Canale’s Restaurant in Oswego and SUNY Upstate University, that do not use Facebook, but see how it is working for other companies and believe that it might be something they should consider.

“We try to separate what our employees do outside of work from how they perform on the job, unless they are discussing work in a public forum,” said Nick Canale Jr., owner of Canale’s Restaurant. “That is when we become interested and checking these sites before hiring might be something to consider.”

Patty Brecht, Human Resources director at SUNY Upstate University, said that those same tactics are used at the university and believes that it would be a wise decision for the university to look into checking people’s social networking sites before hiring.


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