Job seeking prior to the Internet. I can only imagine what a bleak time it was for humanity – akin to the dark ages perhaps. I have images of street urchins with black coal stained faces going door to door in search of employment, desperately trying to earn enough shillings to support their stricken families. But then again, I’m a Gen Y’er and since my first job, I’ve had sites such as Seek and Career One to simplify the process.
These sites mean a job seeker can browse hundreds of available jobs, find the perfect job for them and apply for it, all in a matter of minutes (depending on how fussy you are). Technology is a blessing for job seekers, however it is definitely a double-edged sword.
While job boards and networks like LinkedIn offer effective tools to find jobs and distribute resumes, people must remain conscious of the fact that their personal lives are also available to potential employers, should the employers choose to search for them. And that’s how simple it is – type in a name, click search and anything from personal images to videos and conversations are presented to anyone who cares to look for them. Thank God for privacy options. However some people just plain forget the basic things like ‘don’t make those pictures of you passed out in a bear suit available to the public’ or ‘don’t add your boss on Facebook’, resulting in situations such as this:
But how far do employers have a right to go? Is it acceptable for them to seek out your personal profiles? Is it acceptable for them to ask you for your login and password so they can enter your accounts themselves? A company needs to know what sort of person they’re going to employ, but not at the expense of individuals right to privacy. But with social media, privacy is becoming more and more ambiguous. It’s a wonderful tool, useful in so many different ways, but people need to bear in mind during their use of it that their personal information is about to be projected into the Internet ether and that it will be available for access to millions of people and that, for the most part, your privacy is controlled by you.
Are you a recruiter or responsible for hiring decisions? What do you think? This is an open debate – do any job seekers out there have experiences they want to share?