If you are like most you have a Facebook page. Chances are you’ve also heard about job candidates being asked for their Facebook passwords as part of the hiring process. There are also a ton of articles written about what to do if you are asked for your Facebook password. While I’m nearly certain that won’t occur during your Federal job search, I do know an interested hiring manager can and will take a look at your Facebook page. What the hiring manager finds on your page can hurt your chances at an interview or a job offer.
In the Federal Government, we must all maintain a Public Trust Clearance. The level of clearance required for a particular job will vary based on the sensitivity of the information the position has access to and the potential impact it could have on the agency and/or its mission. Most people are familiar with Top Secret and Secret clearance. These are the high and moderate levels of Public Trust clearance.
Aside from security reasons, part of the intent behind Public Trust is to ensure all government employees conduct themselves in a way that doesn’t put the public’s trust in it’s employees in jeopardy – both in their professional and their personal lives.
So what does Facebook have to do with Public Trust clearance and a job in the Federal Government? Those things which are easily visible to the public can speak to the ‘public trustworthiness’ of the candidate.
Checklist for your Facebook page during a Federal job search
- Are you dressed provocatively in your main Facebook picture with a drink (or two) in your hands?
- Do you have any videos in your timeline that are questionable that you wouldn’t show your mom?
- Are there any political ‘jokes’ visible to anyone who visits your page?
- Are there any groups or pages that you’ve liked that you wouldn’t want a hiring manager to see?
If you answered yes to any of these things, you need to clean up your page before you start your Federal job search. Select a picture that you wouldn’t mind popping up on your screen in a job interview. Unlike and/or remove any links or videos with questionable content. Finally, set your privacy levels high on your account.
There may be some reading this article that are thinking:
- What I have on my page is none of a hiring managers’ business.
- My free time is my time and what I do is my prerogative.
- It only matters whether I can do the job.
Perhaps those things are true. But remember, if a manager is selecting from two equally qualified candidates and your Facebook profile is straight out of a frat house…I assure you, the other candidate will be selected.
And if that doesn’t convince you to clean up your page, know this: if the hiring manager doesn’t look you up on Facebook, chance are at least one of your future coworkers will.
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