Like it or not, your Facebook activities could make or break your next employment opportunity. In ever-increasing numbers, employers check Facebook profiles before making hiring decisions. However, an opposing party’s Facebook activities might make your next victory.
Some words of caution if you’re out there looking for a job –
Last year, Careerbuilder.com conducted a survey which found that 22% of employers regularly checked Facebook profiles when making a decision to hire someone. As PCWorld reported at the time, those results were based only on the number of employers that admitted they check Facebook in making hiring decisions, meaning those survey results probably skewed low. In August of this year, The Centered Librarian blog reported on Careerbuilder.com’s follow up survey, which now finds that 45% of employers check Facebook (or other social networking) profiles. 35% of job applicants are rejected based on those investigations.
So, if you are out there looking for a job, you may have reason to be concerned about your virtual Facebook existence. Relax; help has arrived.
Remember those 1970’s commercials where people exclaimed, “You’ve got ring around the collar!”? From the makers of the laundry detergent Wisk, the company responsible for those memorable TV ads, comes a brand-new Facebook application called “Wisk-It.” In 3 easy steps, “Wisk-It” claims to clean up your Facebook profile by getting rid of those otherwise regrettable Facebook photos. You can link to a New York Times article written about the application this month here.
Admittedly, this blog is not a blog about job hunting or even a blog about Facebook in particular. When I read about the “Wisk-It” application, I found my mind wandering (with some concern) into the arena of evidence gathering – or more accurately, evidence destruction. Allow me to explain.
Like employers, law enforcement officials are also trolling Facebook in greater numbers to uncover crooks. You can read about one such miscreant in the “Facebook Wall of Shame” article I posted here. I can tell you from first-hand experience that civil lawyers also troll the social networks looking for nuggets of information to use in appropriate cases. I handled a family law matter a couple of years ago, which involved some allegations by my client of inappropriate substance use by one parent when the couple’s infant child was in that parent’s custody. At my client’s insistence, my office found the other parent’s public profile on Facebook, which included compromising photos tending to prove my client’s allegations. With a little help from the California’s Civil Discovery Act, the profile and those photos were admitted at the subsequent custody trial – along with a stern lecture from the trial judge.
Disclaimer – I am certainly not advocating evidence destruction and neither should you. However, whether you are a virtual lawyer or a real time lawyer, you need to be aware that “apps” like Wisk-It could be used to scrub an online profile that might have contained admissible evidence helpful to your client.
This is not a WYSIWYG situation. Consider asking about such matters in your next discovery requests.
In this week’s installment of “Find It Friday,” I will discuss a free online service to track surreptitious changes to websites that might help you win your next case.