I was up in Nanaimo yesterday to speak to 3rd and 4th year students in the Graphic Design program at Vancouver Island University. One of the things we talked about was to what degree potential employers are checking out candidates in social media spaces.
Is it right for an employer to examine your personal life? Is it ok that they see pics of you and your mom hugging on Facebook? Of you and your partner on vacation in bathing suits on Flickr? Smoking cigars and puking on YouTube?
I don’t think it’s a question of wrong or right, but can or can’t. Facebook, for example, is not your private club unless you make it so. A fully public profile will be examined by all sorts of people.
Your posts, pics, videos and profiles, however amusing and real, are a source of information that lead back to you as a potential employee. Comments on blog posts such as this can be easily googled by the HR manager.
There is a phenomenal amount of information about you online, which any moderately resourceful person can track down. It can all be very useful in helping an employer reach a decision about you.
It’s 1984 all over again. Beware, comrade.