This was a hot button for me when I first came across it. Apparently there are some employers out there that are taking the interview process to a whole new level. We’ve all had interviews before. The unnerving feeling of being asked a mix of mundane and out-of-left field questions that force you to say “uh…” “lets see…” Yea those. Well what if while you were asked those questions when trying to explain last week’s house party at your best friends house. Don’t remember? Well thankfully your friend posted it on his wall and tagged you so you could somewhat remember the state of mind you were in. As the memory comes back to you, the HR manager or recruiter gives you a stone cold look of disappointment.
MSNBC’s Red Tape Chronicles website was where I first read about this. Personally I think it’s an invasion of privacy. It’s almost like an employer asking what you do at home and what kind of table manners you have. On the other hand, for some agencies and high security jobs I can understand the risk and need to fully vet someone’s clearance for employment. I remember years ago when I learned banks and other financial institutions where doing credit checks for people before they even got a chance for an interview. If you were in bad credit standing, your application would not be considered. So I guess in these new days, if you are a certain way personally outside of work, that can affect you being picked for a job too.
Now social media monitoring isn’t anything new. Not long ago the Library of Congress admitted they would be archiving all tweets posted on Twitter. Not really sure why they’d want to keep all those tweets, but they’re doing it. You could follow a lot of conspiracy rabbit holes as well the more you dig in. Even Google will be collecting all of your user data across all of their services to better serve you they say.
What can be done? Well simple, stop using these applications and websites. Too hard? Well you could do a few other things:
- Don’t log in to any of these applications via internet or mobile device to keep your information out of their databases
- Change your real name to an alias.
- Try using a browser that uses no personal cookies and history saving.
- Delete your internet history before and after using such sites
- Create real/dummy accounts to use or share when needed
Is this too far? Is social media turning into a double-edged sword? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
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I guess its always the case, social networking websites have always been a pain in the $$$ since forever. I have been asked many times from family, friends, employers, etc about what I did and how come I am saying that or sharing this or commenting on a subject.
I guess creating a professional (facebook, twitter, etc) accounts for employers and another one for personal life (probably with different name and identity, only friends know) is a better solution. Or, do what my friend always do, NEVER tag him in anything, upload what u want, but no tag 😀
Great subject mate … hope we get some interesting feedback 🙂
Thanks for commenting Zaid! Yea removing the “tagging” option is a good one! I believe Facebook has an option that will automatically tag you if someone of your friends posts a picture of you without you knowing. Freaking and convenient at the same time depending on how you look at it. I’d be more for the alter-ego or alias approach. Seems to work for me thus far. Hehe (knocking on wood).
I understand the deleting of cookies, creating an alias etc., but what about locking your privacy settings so all people see is you cover profile image and headshot? Is there any way potential employers would be able to skirt around these settings?
Hi SThomas, thanks for your question. Locking down your browser privacy settings is a good idea to keep social networks like Facebook from using your cookies to sniff out information about you. They do it well though because they already have a great amount of user data from your facebook profile, then use that plus your browsing history to target you with ads. However from an HR standpoint none of that would matter because some organizations would be asking you to login on their computers during an interview process. At which they’d be able to see all of your photos, wall posts, games, and more because they’d be logged in as you.