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The Octopus – Hiding Facebook For Future Employers

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Mar 23, 2012 in Interviewing Skills, Lessons Learned, Self Improvement

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One of the most well-known defense abilities of Octopi, besides mimicry, is the expulsion of ink. The preferable defense, of course, is to simply not be seen. This can be achieved by squeezing into tight places and camouflaging to avoid detection. If they are spotted by a predator, the Octopus can eject ink in a large cloud to cover their escape.

For years experts have warned job seekers that their Facebook profiles and other social media accounts may very well hinder their chances of employment—anything like controversial statuses and/or unflattering drunken photos are enough to get your resume thrown in the trash can. After all, employers want someone who will be able to represent their business in a good light.

While in the past job applicants were able to safe guard and restrict their personal information from prying eyes simply by changing their privacy settings, much like the Octopus prefers to hide, some interviewees may no longer have that added sense of security. Employers are getting a lot smarter. Rather than hiring an expensive IT specialist to hack into your account or trying to “friend” candidates on the social media site, some employers are doing something rather blunt: directly asking for an applicant’s Facebook username and password during the interview.

Headlines report that this trend is slowly sweeping the nation. Employers ask job applicants for log-in information so that he or she can evaluate the applicant’s Facebook page later on; or an employer will ask the applicant to log-on Facebook in front of him or her before the interview is over. It’s a technique that can definitely be seen as a violation of privacy. But for those desperate for a job, they have no other choice but to oblige to the interviewer’s request.

Other big-name companies like Sears may not go as far as asking for log-in information directly, but they do manage to get ahold of your Facebook profile information in a more subtle way: via Facebook apps. Some companies make job applications available on Facebook. In order to access and submit the application however, users must first agree to the app’s terms and conditions which specifically say third parties can access profile information such as photos and your friends list. Hiding may no longer be enough.

So what to do and how can you prevent your Facebook from hindering your employment opportunities? For starters you can do some major spring cleaning. Obviously setting certain photos albums to private isn’t enough, so back the photos up on your hard drive and delete sketchy photo albums entirely on your profile. It’s also a good idea to change what you post and the frequency —don’t complain too much or sound whiny (no dissing your ex or post about the turmoil’s of not being employed); be informative—links to news articles are ok because it shows that you know what’s happening in the world; refrain from posting too many YouTube music videos; and most importantly keep every status update G –rated.  Go ahead and delete a few statuses that you think might make you look bad. Facebook’s new Timeline makes this process a little easier.

If you think your Facebook is just too much of a mess, remember that you could always delete it—temporarily or permanently. After all, interviewers can’t punish you for having something inappropriate on your Facebook if you don’t have one.  Deactivating it during the period of applying and a few weeks after you’re hired is a great idea. But if you want to delete your Facebook entirely, remember you must e-mail the Facebook administration so that they can take it down for you. “Inking” the elements of your online presence that are less desirable to employers so that they cannot find them may save you, just like the Octopus.

Update! Facebook speaks out against employers asking for passwords.

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7

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