Enjoying the anonymity of the internet in social networking? Are you revealing a bit more in Orkut, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, or BlogSpot? Extreme political opinions, photos, college pranks, weekend preferences and more?
An increasingly popular trend, graduates stepping out of universities and looking ahead for their first interviews are closing their social networking pages. Reason: Big brother is watching. Job hunters are increasingly conscious of anything they put into the online sphere-even e-mail, which, of course, can be forwarded to anyone.
These are not entirely paranoia. There is anecdotal evidence and some HR reports talk about corporate recruiters are Googling potential employees, having interns log onto social networking sites to check out an applicant’s profile, and using the online world as another way to check references. This trend, combined with the growing population of sites like Orkut, Facebook, and MySpace, has many young people uneasy and unsure about how to navigate a new world.
B-school administrators and professors are beginning to advise students on maintaining a professional presence on social networking sites, in e-mail, on personal Web sites, and blogs. Even if it’s password-protected, recruiters have profiles, too, and can get into your groups.
In a survey, a little more than 70% of the 60 students say they continue to post the same things they always did, even though potential employers might be taking a look. About 20% of the 90 employers who have so far responded to the same survey say they investigate new hires by visiting social networking sites. A considerable 6% of employers say they’ve decided not to hire someone based on what they saw online, but another 26% responded to that same question with no comment.