Did Facebook Cost Me a Job?

Q. I'm a TV reporter searching for a job in another market. At one station I applied to, an anchor had requested to be my Facebook friend. I was wary to add her, but I double-checked to see if my profile was clean and accepted the request.

I sent the anchor a nice e-mail, telling her a little about me in hopes of facilitating some discussion on the Web. Weeks passed. And two messages later, still no answer.

I finally got a rejection letter from the station, which led me to wonder: Did my Facebook have anything to do with my rejection?

Though I allowed her (and I assume she was looking on behalf of her boss) to see my profile, do I have grounds to take any action? Would you advise anyone to let future employers see your Facebook profile?

I would like to make a call to the news director and human resources person to tell them -- politely but firmly -- that this practice is misleading to applicants. I feel like a joke.

Overall, I might reconsider letting future employers see my Facebook profile. As clean as my profile might be, it's likely to pave more ground for rejection.


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A. I have serious questions about people who friend another person and then don't talk to them, apparently because they were only helping their boss fish for information.

But I don't think your Facebook page killed your chances. Remember, you looked your page over before you agreed to be friends with the creepy person who now doesn't reply to e-mails.

It seems you were eliminated for some other, unknown reason. There can be many of them, legitimate and not so legitimate. But I don't think Facebook did you in.

Your experience reminds us all to maintain a clean digital profile and to be careful about who we let in. In the future, you might reply to a similar friend request this way: "Thanks for the invitation, but I don't become Facebook friends with people I don't know. I am interested in your station and your work, though, and would like to ask you a few questions over e-mail. We can start out that way."

If this whole thing went down the way you think it did, aren't you glad you didn't get hired at a station where the bosses ask anchors to masquerade as friends to dig up information on people -- and where the anchors comply?

I would move on and be glad you don't work there.

Worth a look: On Wednesday, Romenesko linked to a Wired article about an Associated Press staffer whose Facebook note about McClatchy got him in trouble -- and about supervisors in other industries who have taken action on the basis of Facebook comments.

Coming Monday: She is ready to move and would like to go to a sister paper, but the company is interviewing only candidates at the same paper. How can she get consideration?

  • Joe Grimm

    Joe Grimm is a visiting editor in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism. He runs the JobsPage Website.


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