Canadian Consulting Engineer

Watch what you post – it may come back to haunt you

January 18, 2010
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

An article in IEEE's newsletter on January 8 pointed out that companies are using social network sites like Li...

An article in IEEE’s newsletter on January 8 pointed out that companies are using social network sites like Linked In, Facebook and Twitter to unearth information about potential staff employees.

The article, written by Kathy Kowalenko, said that human resources specialists are scouring social network sites to find suitable job candidates, and also to vet those who have applied for positions.

Based on a webinar given by a career coach called Elizabeth Lions for IEEE-USA last fall, the article warns people to be careful about the kind of personal information they post on their sites. Lions warned, “the days of ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ are over … What happens in Vegas now stays on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.”

At the same time it is better to have an online presence than not if you want to be “current with the times,” said Lions in the article. She advised only posting professional information on LinkedIn, and putting your more casual, personal photographs only on Facebook.

In terms of companies using social network sites for vetting candidates, Lions’ suggestion that companies could draw conclusions based on simple factors such as the region the candidate grew up in. “LinkedIn will reveal a lot of interesting information about job candidates,” Lions says. “There are pictures, details about where they went to school, and whether they’re from the Midwest, the West Coast or the East Coast. These details give a snapshot of who they are from a cultural standpoint. Instantly, I know a lot about you without ever picking up the phone.”

This is all a bit disconcerting.  We used to be told not to judge someone on face value.  Today we might be screened out of even getting an interview for a job simply because of where we come from!

The article was entitled, “Beware: Recruiters are Screening You On Your Social Network Profiles,  was published by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE),


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