Facebook/MyspaceI was recently going through some articles, and came across an interesting batch about Facebook and Myspace. Facebook and Myspace are both widely used social networking sites that allow the user to create a home page about themselves, and locate other users via browse features included in the site. These two have gained the most popularity out of the hundreds of social networking sites due to their great customization capabilities and easy user interface. But, did you know that many employers are scourging these sites for hopeful applicants to get a glimpse into their personal lives to make decisions of employment?  An article on MSNBC.com states that one in five bosses screen their applicants web lives and determine where they find that person an eligible candidate for hire.

Let’s Talk Numbers

A survey done by online job site CareerBuilder.com included 3,169 managers, and found that 22 percent of them screen potential employees via social networking sites, an alarming increase from a similar survey done in 2006 that only came out to 11 percent. This same survey found that out of that number, 34 percent of them found content that made them disqualify the candidate from any short list. Now, this could be a double-edged sword, because a person’s personal life doesn’t always affect their work ethic. But, valuable information retrieved could prevent a person that might prove to be inadequate for the job from getting hired in the first place. (i.e. lying about credentials, poor communication skills, discriminatory remarks made on the site or an unprofessional screen name)

But this doesn’t all scream out negativity for you Myspacers or Facebookers searching for jobs, on the same survey it was found that 24 percent of these managers say that they found content to help them solidify their decision to hire that candidate – time to spruce up that Myspace or Facebook page eh? The top factors that influenced their decision included the candidate’s backgrounds supporting their qualifications for the job, proving they had good communications skills, and having a site that converyed a level of professionalism with a wide range of interests that hiring managers found appealing.

So What Does This Mean?

Technically it means, that as time progresses bosses will look more and more to these sites to get an idea of who they are potentially giving a job to.

“Hiring managers are using the Internet to get a more well-rounded view of job candidates in terms of their skills, accomplishments and overall fit within the company,” said CareerBuilder.com spokeswoman Rosemary Haefner in a statement.

“As a result, more job seekers are taking action to make their social networking profiles employer-friendly. Sixteen percent of workers who have social networking pages said they modified the content on their profile to convey a more professional image to potential employers.”

Job References Too!

Another article on MSNBC said that these days, hiring managers can talk to anyone about you. Including the friends on your Facebook or Myspace. Technically this is one hundred percent legal, seeing as you openly exclaim your friend lists on both of these sites, hiring managers are free to speak to whomever and ask about your credentials.

Eve Tahmincioglu writes “Almost every human resource professional I talk to lately admits to using these social networking sites to check out applicants, beyond just public profiles and resumes. In many cases, if an HR person shares a job seeker’s connection on a networking site, they’ll just e-mail that contact to find out the dirt on the applicant without permission from the applicant. – Taken from MSNBC.com

“The old days of a page with three references and three phone numbers on it that you controlled are over,” says Jennifer L. Berman, an HR attorney with consulting firm CBIZ in Chicago. “With these networking sites, you’ve opened up your rolodex for the whole world to see.”

With the Internet readily available and sites open to the public it is becoming increasingly apparent that privacy is going out the window. It’s time to start thinking about that extensive friend list you might have and how it might actually affect you. Now, granted that you can simply put people you might not want to be contacted as a reference on a private list, this defeats the purpose of the whole thing. Networking!

Sources and Mentioned Sites :

MSNBC : “One in five bosses…”
“Facebook friends as job references?”

Myspace : www.myspace.com

Facebook : www.facebook.com