We just went through another round of hiring here at 12 Spokes. We always get a flood of applicants for open positions, and of course, all the stereotypical job-seeking advice applies here—write a cover letter that addresses the individual job posting, keep your resume to one page, yada, yada, yada.
There’s one stereotypical piece of advice that I disagree with: Common wisdom says to hide your Facebook profile from potential employers, because it might scare them away. “A recent survey commissioned by Microsoft found that 70 percent of recruiters and hiring managers in the United States have rejected an applicant based on information they found online,” says CNN.
But let’s consider the flip side: what percentage of hiring managers have hired an applicant because her Facebook profile fleshed out the personality behind her already-strong resume? When I’m sorting through resumes, Facebook is an invaluable tool to help me find likeable people who will be a good fit for my team. Granted, I might be an easy target. I’m young, I know how this stuff works and I’m not going to dock you for a few red-Solo-cup photos. I think I have a few on my feed myself.
Maybe most recruiters and hiring managers aren’t as cool as me, but let’s give them a little credit. If you’re a generally standup person whose feed is full of innocuous updates and photos from the lake, nobody’s going to throw your application away because of it. Your Facebook feed is a mini introduction to you, and generally it’s good for a hiring manager to know more about you than less. She might remember you as the applicant who loves to fly-fish or who has twin daughters. It will help you stick in that person’s mind.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say I distrust people who hide their feeds, particularly applicants in their early 20s. If you’re a hotshot coder straight out of college and I can’t see into your feed, I know it’s probably because it’s full of penis jokes and beer pong photos you don’t want me to know about.
But if you’re 23 and your feed shows me there’s more to your life than Madden and Coors Light—well, young’un, that’s a serious leg up.
So to sum up: If you’re generally a good person/employee, there’s no reason to hide your profile, and it might actually help you get the job. If you: (a) badmouth your employer, (b) are a slacker pothead, or (c) spout culturally insensitive bile on your feed, well, make sure you’re applying for jobs at companies where that’s encouraged. Or maybe consider that those things might be why you’re surfing the job boards in the first place.