After reading posts from my fellow classmates, Lauren and Jamie, I am again confronted with the ever so popular question college students face of “Is my Facebook appropriate?” A few weeks ago I wrote on the new trend of obsessively documenting everything you do through pictures and addressed something many of our generation feels to be true, “College students don’t post Instagram pictures of their hard work at their internship, their religiously dedicated library visits to Davis late at night nor their academic achievements. Social media shows the fun in life, the exciting aspects that make others jealous.”
But, it may be this very fun that gets us into trouble or presents us at a disadvantage at a professional level.
Lauren mentioned that she got a friend request from a public relations company that she is in the process of applying for and does not know what to do about it. I wouldn’t know what to do about it either. Facebook is your life published online. It includes your life’s ups and downs and probably some awkward middle school pictures as well.
Is it fair for an employer to dissect your Facebook in the pursuit of hiring you? I think there are two very true answers here that can easily be argued, so obviously I’m going to address both sides.
No – My Facebook is irrelevant to the position that I am applying for. My resume is already included, along with a cover letter, along with the URLs for my Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. That should be enough for them. Work and social lives are separate and do not effect one another, ever. Sure, I’ve had a few goofy photo shoots with friends, attended a social event or two and have had a boyfriend. Those things do not define my professional ethic and motivational drive and therefore you do not need to see my entire life up to this point solely for a PR internship. And no, I’m not trying to hide anything. I’ve given you a plethora of other options to learn more about me, my work, education and goals. Check my LinkedIn if you want to see a picture of me, not Facebook.
Yes – It is fair for a potential employer to look at my Facebook profile because it’s published online. We’ve been told that what we post on the Internet is there forever, for anyone to see, and that includes potential employers. It’s not an invasion of privacy because it’s already on the Internet. It is necessary for future employers to see what applicants are like and if they are simply putting up a professional front or not. It’s a company’s responsibility to research potential prospects anyway they can.
In all honesty, I do think that we should be allowed to have a separate entity from our future employers. I would be very upset if I knew that the company I’m interning for this summer snooped my Facebook and then found me worthy enough to work at their company. I would feel as though my accolades weren’t strong enough and that they had to double check that I would fit into their company lifestyle. But, I would rather have them simply ask me my past life events, social life, hobbies and interests. I’d be more than willing to answer and explain further.
It will be very interesting to see what future laws will include regarding workplace discrimination via social media, because I believe it’s a real thing and should be confronted.
Lauren, for now I’d say to just keep that friend request pending…