Facetime

Facetime

Employers—and the occasional student—are finding Facebook can provide a glimpse of the reality beyond the interview

By Gerry Boyle '78


 
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Facebooking | Brianna Tufts ‰07 is one of a growing number of students aware of the potential for employers to use Facebook profiles.
Photo by Fred Field
Or, as Andrea Linney '07J put it, "If you don't have that social interaction, what does that say about you? I would be more willing to choose somebody [for a job] who had had interaction than someone who had been closeted most of their college life.—

Wreschner, who graduated before Facebook emerged on college campuses, said he has neither had a Facebook account nor has he actually done a Facebook search, though he has seen the results of searches done by younger colleagues. But, he said, he sees it as a way for employers to supplement applicants' résumés and academic records.

"They'll tell you from the very beginning,— he said, "personality makes a difference. We're going to end up spending fifteen hours a day with you; we want to make sure we like you. And if you've got hundreds of résumés and they end up taking forty kids—there are a lot of kids with 4.0s from Harvard. How do you delineate? Do you fit? Do you blend well in the interview? People do look to [Facebook] to a point to get an idea of what your personality is like.—

Unless, of course, applicants choose to make their Facebook profile private. In that setting, the page is accessible only to people the profilee has accepted as Facebook friends. Linney, concerned about reports of Facebook snooping, has done just that. "I just checked everything off,— she said. "Now, unless you're my real friend or I give permission to be my friend, you don't have access to anything.—
"They [employers] will tell you from the very beginning, personality makes a difference. We're going to end up spending fifteen hours a day with you; we want to make sure we like you. And if you've got hundreds of résumés and they end up taking forty kids—there are a lot of kids with 4.0s from Harvard. How do you delineate? Do you fit? Do you blend well in the interview? People do look to [Facebook] to a point to get an idea of what your personality is like.—
—Harrison Wreschner '03


And how many Facebook friends does she have? "I have about a hundred and sixty-nine,— she said.

"Some people have three hundred or more. I would say that only a handful are true friends, though. I think most of them are, well, I met you once or twice.—

If Facebook culture redefines "friend,— it also gives new meaning to the notion of privacy. If 300 people have access to photos, writings, and messages, can a Facebook inspection by a potential employer really be called an invasion of privacy?

Yes, Linney said, if the snooping is being done behind your back. With plans to teach English in China after graduation, she wasn't concerned about landing a job on Wall Street, she said, but she still objected to having her Facebook profile perused by a potential employer. "It's one thing to check your background in terms of a criminal record that would affect how you teach the kids,— Linney said. "But I don't see how your college social life would affect how you interact with kids or your coworkers.—

But how you portray your college social life could be a factor in determining who those coworkers are.

On Wall Street last fall, the buzz was about a video profile submitted by a college senior looking for a job at a major brokerage house. The promotional video included footage of the student playing tennis, skiing, bench pressing in the gym, and ballroom dancing. Could a Facebook profile be created expressly for the purpose of landing a job?

"The idea of tailoring a Facebook profile is probably over the top ,— said Wreschner. "But I could see some sort of ultra-competitive person trying to demonstrate just how balanced their life is. Pictures of them in the library, them doing community service. Them at a party—with a Solo cup. I think it could get a little out of hand.—
 
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