Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Scrubbing Facebook

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Scrubbing Facebook

Article excerpt

Q I will graduate this year with a degree in accounting, and I understand that potential employers might review my Facebook account as part of the interview process. With this in mind, I've gone through my account and removed potentially embarrassing pictures and comments, but I'm not actually sure what other type of content might impede my job opportunities. Can you shed some light on what they might look for, or provide advice as to how I can ensure that my social media account doesn't negatively affect my job-hunting efforts?

A You don't want your Facebook content to jeopardize potential job opportunities; therefore, you were wise to scour your Facebook page and remove obviously disparaging content, but this scrubbing measure might not be enough. A prospective employer might formulate opinions about you based on fairly innocuous details such as pictures, cartoons, or comments you liked; venues where some of your pictures were taken (such as a bar or fraternity house); or your number of friends. The seemingly vanilla jokes and funny pictures you have posted might brand you as insensitive in the eyes of others. Even the movies you like in your profile might work against you if the reviewer didn't like those movies or the actors involved. To be safe, it is probably in your best interest to lock down your Facebook and other social media accounts, at least until you complete the interview and hiring process. Presented below is a list of possible measures you could take to help ensure your Facebook content doesn't make you less hirable.

* Deactivate your Facebook account. Of course, an extreme option would be to close your Facebook account, but because Facebook can be a valuable tool for staying connected with your friend base, you may not want to exercise this option.

* Change your Facebook displayed name. In anticipation of job hunting, some college seniors drop their last names and use their first and middle names instead. This allows you to continue using Facebook for social purposes but may make it more difficult for prospective employers to locate and review your Facebook page. Historically, Facebook has employed a "real name" rule that requires users to use their real names as they would appear on their driver's license; but unofficially I know of many who have used their first and middle name for years with no consequence. …

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