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Employers use the web too

Postby Omaha Red Sox » Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:58 am

Don't get too outrageous online -- employers surf the Web, too

Alan Finder, New York Times

Sunday, June 11, 2006

When a small consulting company in Chicago was looking to hire a summer intern this month, the company's president went online to check on a promising candidate who had just graduated from the University of Illinois.

At Facebook, a popular social networking Web site, the executive found the candidate's Web page with this description of his interests: "smokin' blunts" (cigars hollowed out and stuffed with marijuana), shooting people and obsessive sex, all described in vivid slang.

It did not matter that the student was clearly posturing. He was done.

"A lot of it makes me think, 'What kind of judgment does this person have?' " said the company president, Brad Karsh.

Many companies that recruit on college campuses have been using search engines like Google and Yahoo to conduct background checks on seniors looking for their first job. And now, college career counselors and other experts say, some recruiters are looking up applicants on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Xanga and Friendster, where students often post risque photographs and provocative comments about drinking, drug use and sexual exploits.

Viewed by corporate recruiters or admissions officials at graduate and professional schools, such pages can make students look immature and unprofessional, at best.

"It's a growing phenomenon," said Michael Sciola, director of the career resource center at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. "There are lots of employers that google. Now they've taken the next step."

At New York University, recruiters from about 30 companies told career counselors they were looking at the sites, said Trudy Steinfeld, executive director of the university's center for career development.

"The term they've used over and over is 'red flags,' " Steinfeld said. " 'Is there something about their lifestyle that we might find questionable or that we might find goes against the core values of our corporation?' "

Facebook and MySpace are only 2 years old but have attracted millions of young participants who mingle online by sharing biographical and other information, often intended to show how funny, cool and even outrageous they are.

Concerns have been raised about these and other Internet sites, from their potential misuse by stalkers to students exposing their own misbehavior -- for example, by posting photographs of hazing by sports teams. Add to the list of unintended consequences the new hurdles for the job search.

Ana Homayoun, who runs Green Ivy Educational Consulting in Los Altos, visited Duke University this spring for an alumni weekend and planned to interview a promising job applicant.

Curious about the candidate, she went to her page on Facebook -- and found explicit photographs and commentary about the student's sexual escapades, drinking and pot smoking. Among the pictures were shots of the young woman passed out after drinking.

"I was just shocked by the amount of stuff that she was willing to publicly display," Homayoun said. "When I saw that, I thought, 'OK, so much for that.' "

Occasionally, students find evidence online that might explain why a job search is foundering. Tien Nguyen, a senior at UCLA, signed up for interviews with corporate recruiters, but he was seldom invited.

Then a friend suggested that Nguyen research himself on Google. He found a link to a satirical essay, "Lying Your Way to the Top," that he had published last summer on a Web site for college students. He asked that the essay be removed. Soon, he began to be invited to job interviews and eventually received several offers.

"I never really considered that employers would do something like that," he said. "I thought they would just look at your resume and grades."

Microsoft Corp. said researching students through social networking sites is now fairly typical.

"For the first time ever, you suddenly have very public information about almost any candidate who is coming through the process," said Warren Ashton, group marketing manager at Microsoft.

Many career counselors have been urging students to review their pages on Facebook and other sites, removing photographs or text that might be inappropriate to show to their grandmother or potential employers.

Melanie Deitch, director of marketing at Facebook, agreed that students should take advantage of the site's privacy settings and be smart about what they post.

But it is not clear whether many students are following the advice.

"I think students have the view that Facebook is their space and that the adult world doesn't know about it," said Mark Smith, director of the career center at Washington University in St. Louis. "But the adult world is starting to come in."
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Postby The_Dude » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:01 am

You hear that Mercer? Time to take the nudie pics off your MySpace :-b
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Postby TheBigBakedBean » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:08 am

Facebook and MySpace are only 2 years old but have attracted millions of young participants who mingle online by sharing biographical and other information, often intended to show how funny, cool and even outrageous they are.

I lump blogs in the same category.

A bunch of self-indulgent little twerps screaming either "Check out how cool I think I am" or "Isn't it so cool to be depressed? I'm like...sad" at the top of their lungs.

Serves 'em right that they'll never get a good job. You have to weigh in risk/reward. And for some, social exceptance is more important than a job offer.
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Postby jayday » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:24 am

TheBigBakedBean wrote:
Facebook and MySpace are only 2 years old but have attracted millions of young participants who mingle online by sharing biographical and other information, often intended to show how funny, cool and even outrageous they are.

I lump blogs in the same category.

A bunch of self-indulgent little twerps screaming either "Check out how cool I think I am" or "Isn't it so cool to be depressed? I'm like...sad" at the top of their lungs.

Serves 'em right that they'll never get a good job. You have to weigh in risk/reward. And for some, social exceptance is more important than a job offer.

Not to be a prick, but since you're being one....It's acceptance....

This thread is gonna get ugly....People are going to start preaching about something they've never used themselves....That and "The world is going to end because people will forget how to socialize in person because of these things! Apocalypse! Ahhh!" ;-7

Yes, there are people on there who are vain, and others on there who pretend to cut their veins....But the majority at my college just use it as an alternative way of leaving a voicemail, or obtaining notes from someone if you missed your class, or keeping in touch with people from high school who moved all over the country to different colleges.....
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Postby moonhead » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:26 am

i like to play sad music and talk about my feelings on my myspace.
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Postby knapplc » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:28 am

moonhead wrote:i like to play sad music and talk about my feelings on my myspace.


But only while wearing black and sitting in the dark, right? :-D
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Postby moonhead » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:32 am

knapplc wrote:
moonhead wrote:i like to play sad music and talk about my feelings on my myspace.


But only while wearing black and sitting in the dark, right? :-D


i have one candle burning. as i weep for my lost love.
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Postby mysticphysh » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:44 am

Are employers really that shocked about how people act outside work??? I mean really! Does an interviewer think that the person he is interviewing is alway so polite and always sure to look you in the eye when you're speaking to him and shake your hand when you meet and before leaving? Get real! People are idiots and they're going to act like idiots.

Take that opening example who likes blunts, shooting people and obsessive sex...the dude could be the best worker that company could have taken on in years, but since he was an idiot and goofed off online, they will never know. If they have a drug screening program, they'll find out if he really does smoke blunts. Shooting people is obviously a suburban white boy trying to act "gangsta".... and really, who's not obsessive about sex?

Take the girl who liked to get drunk and pass out? So what! Half the members of this board would be unemployed if that were a deciding factor! If her drinking caused a problem with work, FIND OUT! That's what the references are there for. If she didnt show up for her part time job at Walmart because she was hungover, don't hire her! If she has a spotless job history, who cares if she gets drunk and lets guys slip her roofies every now and then!






PS: I dont really care, I just like to sound passionate. :-b
Last edited by mysticphysh on Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TheBigBakedBean » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:49 am

jayday wrote:But the majority at my college just use it as an alternative way of leaving a voicemail, or obtaining notes from someone if you missed your class, or keeping in touch with people from high school who moved all over the country to different colleges.....

But these are not at all the people that would trigger red flags from employers, and therefore are not the kinds of people that this article is about.

jayday wrote:This thread is gonna get ugly....People are going to start preaching about something they've never used themselves...

I can link you to a myspace account I haven't even logged into in a year and a half, a blog that hasn't been updated since November 2004, and my facebook page from when I was in college. I only set these things up to appease friends of mine and I NEVER found any of these things to be useful for anything other than online self-promotion. I have many friends that moved away for college and for jobs and those that I care enough about, I call on the phone.

Don't get me wrong - I don't have a problem with these kinds of sights existing. That's fine. And no, I'm not jealous that Tela Tequila isn't on my friends list on MySpace. What I'm saying is that people need to know that what they post on the internet is permanant, and there is no true anonymity on the web.
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Postby jayday » Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:08 pm

TheBigBakedBean wrote:
jayday wrote:This thread is gonna get ugly....People are going to start preaching about something they've never used themselves...

I can link you to a myspace account I haven't even logged into in a year and a half, a blog that hasn't been updated since November 2004, and my facebook page from when I was in college. I only set these things up to appease friends of mine and I NEVER found any of these things to be useful for anything other than online self-promotion. I have many friends that moved away for college and for jobs and those that I care enough about, I call on the phone.

Don't get me wrong - I don't have a problem with these kinds of sights existing. That's fine. And no, I'm not jealous that Tela Tequila isn't on my friends list on MySpace. What I'm saying is that people need to know that what they post on the internet is permanant, and there is no true anonymity on the web.

I'm with you on the blogs, I don't find those useful...."I went shopping today and bought blah, blah, blah!"...Yea, nobody cares...But some people like them so, eh....

Once I graduate, I'll probably resort back to e-mail or phone calls instead of facebook....But at the moment, it's convenient....

And I agree with you on the anonymity....People need to be careful on the web....Showing you can drink like a fish or whoreit up on the dance floor is not worth a job oppurtunity....And I think that's what you meant in your first post, but your tone was much better this time ;-)
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