Social Networking & Getting a Job

Over the past few weeks there have been a lot of stories in the news about potential employers requesting login credentials for social networking sites, email accounts etc from applicants.

I will talk about this but may piss a few people off with my views. In every respect I disagree with employers future or present requesting this information. Passwords and login details are private and need to remain that way. However in saying that, I have no problem with potential employers accessing anything about me that is in the public domain. As an employer I do online checks on prospective employees purely to ensure they can’t have a negative impact on the business reputation. Yes, I am one of those people that believe that people’s private lives are and do have a level of impact on the workplace. I’m mainly talking about people’s public life.

In saying that I believe strongly that if you as an employer (and from my perspective as an employee) it is essential that you have very clear and fair guidelines as to your social media policy. This does mean generic terms like not using or posting offensive material. That doesn’t cut it. You must be specific and define things. You can’t just talk about posting on social networking sites, you need to talk about private profiles versus public information. It’s important to ensure that no value judgements are made. You the writer must consider that not everyone thinks like you, has your values and morality. Even after writing your policy you need to build into it a level of flexibility.

As you know, I have this blog and how it is seen can be viewed differently by different audiences. For me it is a voice to share my beliefs and life. The pictures I post are about beauty through my eyes. However someone from an older generation or a more religious background may view it differently. To judge my blog based on anything other than my intent would be crossing a boundary.

On the other hand, if I was on here bragging about being convicted of a crime or something illegal than I deserve to lose my job. In that example they would already know because to do my job you go through serious levels of criminal history screening.

In the end though I have to accept that we are in an online age where anything that I post online publicly is just that public. The people that I feel will be most affected by this are those that haven’t even thought of this implication yet. Those that post thoughtless and stupid pictures and status updates all over the place. Once online it’s there forever and at this point in time a lot of particularly young people are posting things that should be very private. Not long ago I did a search online and discovered an innocent photo of myself on several sites that I don’t know. This photo was only ever posted to Facebook. Luckily for me it is just an innocent picture. But it does show how once you post something online it is there forever.