One of the more interesting stories to sashay onto my radar over the past week is the one about the guy who was interviewing for a job, only to have the interviewer ask for his Facebook username and password in order to better understand his online activities. The guy refused, and he didn’t get the job.
This is obviously a case of a potential employer overstepping its boundaries in pursuit of the best possible candidate. Facebook itself admonished the practice, and so do I. Unlike Facebook, however, I am not content to issue sternly worded edicts about privacy and disclosure. Reader, I want to protect you from all manner of digital invasion as you enter the job market.
What if they ask about my seedy MySpace past?
We’ve all been there. You’re in the second stage of the interview process. You’ve cleared the first hurdle with the grace of a gazelle and are charging toward blissful employment. Suddenly, the interviewer swivels her monitor toward you, displaying your old MySpace page, complete with blinking GIFs and a photo of your buddy Ray-Ray barreling down a pudding-coated Slip ‘N Slide. This could be a disaster.
I advise you to take the Shaggy approach and simply say, “It wasn’t me.” No matter how much evidence the interviewer hurls at you — more photos, your name all over the place, a notarized letter from your mother that details how much time you used to spend on MySpace — you must deny that the page is yours. Be strong, and imagine my hands resting gently on yours, giving you strength and courage but not in a creepy way.
What if they ask about my Klout score?
Any employer that asks about your Klout score is probably just messing with you, and you don’t want to work there anyway. Klout, as you may know, is the leading barometer of online influence that calculates a score between 1-99 that reflects how influential you are online. Its accuracy is debatable and very contested on some of the most annoying marketing blogs online.
Does your Klout score belong in a job interview? No. If an interviewer brings it up and asks you why it’s so low or so high, look them in the eye and say, “I like to score.” If they persist in their line of questioning, lean in close and whisper, “The score, the merrier.” It never fails.
What if they flip through my Flickr?
Flickr is one of the most popular places that people store their photos. Since most of us have long abandoned physical photo albums, we tend to pile all our pics onto sites like this. It keeps them safe from danger but not always from prying eyes.
If an interviewer were to dig through your Flickr photos, since you likely keep your Facebook photos locked up tight, what would they find? And if they presented those findings to you in an interview scenario, how would you defend yourself? The answer is to tell them that the photos in question are “totally Photoshopped.” Celebrities use this defense all the time when they’re photographically scandalized. It’s gold.
You deserve the best future possible, and you deserve to be treated fairly. I’ve got your back, now go get a job.
Friend Ef on MySpace at email@example.com.