Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Internships, Jobs and Careers: Another Facebook No-No – Sending a Friend Request to a Job Interviewer

The July 29th Wall Street Journal article by Sarah E. Needleman entitled “Thx for the IView! I Wud (heart) to Work 4U!!;) Young Job Candidates Find Too-Casual Tone of Textspeak Turns Off Hiring Managers” surprised me.

I wasn’t surprised that young job candidates didn’t know better than to use texting abbreviations in their thank-you notes to interviewers. I’ve written before about the need to use proper English (spelling and grammar) for such communication.

But I admit I was surprised that young people on Facebook send friend requests to interviewers with personal pages on Facebook. This assumes a peer relationship that doesn’t exist. And this action can be fraught with peril if the job applicant has been indiscreet on his or her Facebook profile page.

Although Facebook is now being used more and more for business, there’s still a major difference between Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook is a social media site first, a business site second. LinkedIn is a business site first, a social media site second.

Therefore I do believe it would be appropriate to send an add to network request to an interviewer on LinkedIn because presumably the interviewer is on the site for business purposes.

But to send a friend request to an interviewer who is on Facebook in her or his personal capacity and not on a company page is presumptuous. Regardless of what you may think, the interviewer does not want to share her or his likes in music and movies with you.

As in everything else on the internet, you have to use good judgment. Every time I want to send a message to someone through Facebook, I stop and consider whether this is something that could be put on the person’s wall or whether this is something that should only be seen by the recipient. These messages can’t be dashed off without any thought.

Just because you can send a message around the world in a flash does NOT mean that you should disengage your brain from your activities.

And, according to the Journal article, interviewers are worried about hiring someone who text messages a thank you using abbreviated language. What kind of business correspondence can this young person be trusted to do? After all, every communication that person sends if working at a company reflects back on the company.

Next time you’re tempted to dash off a thank you from your BlackBerry five minutes after you’ve left an interview, consider whether that is the best positioning of your image. While you don’t have to produce a hand-written thank-you note, a well-formulated email could go a long way towards demonstrating that you know professional communication standards.

Remember, as always, the job opportunity that you impact positively or negatively by your actions may be the one that you really want. Don’t jeopardize it by two-thumbing a sloppy, jargon-laced thank you.

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1 comment:

Richard Jennings said...

About.com just added 3 new sites to their Top 10 Employment sites list:


Only one of them is a social network. Employers and recruiters dont care if they know someone, they want to hire the most qualified candidate....nothing will ever change that.