Looking Forward to YOUR Contributions

If you have an ethical issue in business that you would like to see posted on the Rock Chalk Ethics Talk Blog, please submit them to rockchalkethicstalk@gmail.com. Email a summary of the issue and any questions that you would like to propose and the moderator will review them for publication.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Could your Facebook or MySpace account hurt your job search?

You may have noticed the “disclaimer” posted on the sidebar of this site. It is no coincidence that the first topic here is about personal information listed on the web. Facebook, an online social networking site, that has recently been the big topic on college campuses, in recent publications (Time, The Washington Post & Fast Company to name a few), and now even businesses are onboard. Some companies are using Facebook as a way to reach new customers and to tap the young adult market. Other companies are using Facebook as a way to connect to their employees; future, past and present.

What happens when companies get "too personal"? People have been fired for things they’ve said about their company online; others have not been hired because of statements, pictures or opinions posted online. Alison Doyle, on about.com, warns that, “if your blog, web site or profile contains information on your real identity, the people you least expect, and those that you certainly don't want reading it, may find it. Not only your boss and prospective employers, but, also your customers, colleagues and coworkers.” Is it ethical for current or future employers to view your personal information, profile or pictures online? What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I think that it is each individual's responsibility to know what sorts of things their name is attached to online. We can't trust companies to stay away from public information. Especially since they can easily "google" a job candidate's name instead of paying a fee for a background check to find out the same information.

David said...

Hey Ric,

That's certainly an intriguing question. I wrote a story about employers using Facebook to screen applicants a couple of years ago--and what a mini-firestorm it caused. My editor got several calls about it, the hottest of which was a GRA who was incensed that certain KU offices admitted themselves to snooping through student applicants' Facebook profiles.

The story appeared in the Kansan and was picked up by the U-Wire service (and appeared in other newspapers, too). You can find the original version here:


Whether it's ethical or not, employers do it. My question is, do employers ever stop to ask if it's ethical?

//David L.

Anonymous said...

I believe separation between your work and personal life is essential. Work-life balance is paramount to a positive outlook on life. Facebook profiles should not influence a potential employer’s decision.

Anonymous said...

I just think it is a none issue. Lock your profile from people that are not your friends so companies can't look at it. This way you can keep your personal life to yourself. Just make sure your profile picture is acceptable because they can see that.
I do believe that college life does not reflect in your ability to be a quality employee so it shouldn't be that big of a problem but just avoid it.

geoWIZard said...

Your kick-off posting may have helped inspire this benchmark:

LJWorld.com / Virginia public schools to teach classes on Internet
... Virginia public schools will soon launch Internet safety lessons across all grade ... May 4, 2008 · 8 comments; ...

KM/SE CoP said...

So, why NOT launch a KU-GSB CyberEthics Challenge for new students during e-Campus orientation sessions?

Collaborate with KU-Info at Kansas Memorial Union to capture Top-10 CyberTraps.

Consider bechmarking with pioneering ESSDACK-inspired K-12 privacy protection practices!