Who’s Facebooking You?

The social networking site Facebook is now the most used people search engine on the
Web according to data reported by Inside Facebook, an independent blog dedicated to Facebook news. And, according to Wikipedia, the site is now the 7th most visited site in the U.S. and has 30 million registered users.

What does all this mean to you? That friends, acquaintances and employers could be searching Facebook for information about you. If you have a Facebook account, the thought of your boss or a random neighbor perusing your profile may not sit well with you – depending on what you have posted there.

The content on Facebook profiles has created career hiccups for some. For example, Miss New Jersey was recently involved in a blackmailing fiasco that threatened to end her reign as a result of some questionable photos on her Facebook page. 

According to CBS.com research, about 20 percent of employers are routinely scanning the Facebook profiles of applicants. When employers stumble upon racy or questionable content on applicants’ profiles, it can do serious damage to the applicants’ chances of landing an interview, let alone a job.

But just because employers are browsing social networking sites for information on candidates doesn’t mean you should delete your Facebook profile. Online profiles can actually be used to your advantage. For one, they give employers an inside look at your personality, interests and creative abilities – all of which can help you stand out from the crowd.

If you’re actively applying for jobs and you have an online profile, consider including some of your career strengths and interests on your profile in case a recruiter finds you online. Or if you have content on your profile that you don’t want prospective employers to view, make your profile private.

What’s been your experience with Facebook and other social networking sites? Have you searched co-workers, applicants or employees on these sites? How would you feel if you knew a recruiter had looked at your profile?


  1. Kate S.

    I’m a HS teacher so I definitely don’t have a presence on MySpace just because that feels really creepy. I’m not sure if I’d feel the same way about Facebook. As for recruiters looking at a profile, I don’t think I’d mind. If you’re out there, you’re fair game. So, present yourself in a way that you wouldn’t mind people seeing. Besides, I tend to think that if you’re at the point in your life where recruiters might be interested in you, pictures of you in a bikini, doing shots isn’t really something any of your friends want to see, either!

  2. Summer

    That’s a good point – when a person’s at a point in life that they want to be taken seriously professionally or otherwise, it’s a good idea to manage that image on all fronts.
    Having a profile on Facebook or Myspace or other social networking site is a given for most in the under 25 crowd. And, more than likely, the trend is not going away.
    As more millennials enter the workforce and employers adjust to this generation’s vigor for connecting with their peers online, perhaps employers’ views will change as well.
    Maybe a few years from now an applicant’s online persona will be a non-issue. But at this point, I think many recruiters will still take an applicant’s online presence into consideration when offering a job.

  3. Chris S

    …this is why I always adhere to one of the very important Netiquette rules:
    “Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life”
    People seem to think that they can post anything they want, in any way they desire, online and that they will suffer no repercussions for said actions because their identity is merely a compilation of letters and/or numbers.
    It’s good for employers, I think, to peruse individuals’ onilne profiles; all too often, the true colors of a person can be seen online, solely because people think that the purported online anonymity gives them the right to be rude, racist, or otherwise unsavory.

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