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Blog: Job Seekers to Employers: Stop Snooping!

Blog: Job Seekers to Employers: Stop Snooping!

Employers are increasingly trolling the web for information about prospective employees that they can use in their hiring decisions. Consequently, career experts advise job seekers to not post any photos, opinions or information on blogs and social networking websites that a potential employer might find offensive. Instead of cautioning job seekers to censor their activity online, we job seekers and defenders of our civil liberties should tell employers to stop snooping and to stop judging our behavior outside of work.


I'm tired of career experts advising job seekers to "play it safe" online by not posting any photos, opinions or information on blogs and social networking websites that a potential employer might find remotely off-putting.

I understand where these career counselors are coming from: They're in the business of dispensing advice that will help people land jobs. Recommending that people "play it safe" is as anodyne as it gets.

But instead of cautioning job seekers to censor their behavior and the information and pictures they post online, we job seekers and defenders of civil liberties should tell employers to stop snooping and stop judging our behavior outside of work. What we do, say and believe in our personal lives in most cases has no bearing on our ability to do a job, barring criminal behavior, of course.

Employer as Voyeur

Employers are increasingly trolling the Web for information about prospective employees that they can use in their hiring decisions. According to a survey CareerBuilder conducted last year, one-third of employers have disqualified a candidate after checking out the candidate on social networking websites and finding stuff they didn't like.

What do employers find so offensive? Evidence of Dionysian behavior: Drinking, drugs and "provocative or inappropriate photographs or information." Heaven forbid men get drunk, women show off their physical assets or anyone engages in political discourse or talks publicly about their sex lives.

Many of those employers surveyed by CareerBuilder are more concerned about the appearance of candidates' private lives and personal beliefs online than they are about job seekers' professional skills. In fact, they would pass on a candidate who boasts about his or her binge drinking on Facebook before they'd exclude a candidate with poor communication skills, according to the survey.

Apparently, job seekers aren't allowed to have fun anymore—at least they're not allowed to display their fun or their views online.

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Tags online profilefree speechblogsWeb 2.0employerJob searchsocial networkingcareerhiringjob seekercivil liberties

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