Keeping Your Facebook Profile Professional

It has become a standard of practice for young professionals: logging in to monitor the photos and videos that friends tag them in. In a recent interview with NPR (embedded below), CareerBuilder.com found that one in five employers check Facebook profiles when researching a potential job candidate. Additionally, one third of those that checked Facebook found a reason to reject an applicant due to photos with alcohol or drugs.

I always thought it was obvious to monitor your photos but a large portion of young Facebook users continue to post incriminating photographs of themselves on the site. Personally, I have been forced to reject at least one applicant after he posted photos of himself smoking a joint and chugging liquor. While either activity may not be foreign to many college students, publicly posting those activities definitely shows a lack of professionalism.

If you don’t want to get blocked from employment, it’s probably a good idea to monitor all of the photos that you are tagged in on a daily basis to make sure nothing shows up. One of the biggest challenges is that on Facebook, you don’t have the option of approving tags placed by other users. This means monitoring is a reactive activity and not done for preventative purposes.

Instead users must monitor to limit the damage done. Honestly, I think Facebook may want to consider modifying their policy of letting users instantly tag their friends. Instead, there should be some sort of approval period in which a user must reject within a specific timeframe (say 24 hours), otherwise the tag will automatically be approved. Have you been forced to reject job applicants due to photos of them on Facebook? Do you think Facebook’s policy of letting users automatically tag their friends without approval is a good one?