57% of college students think their Facebook postings aren't vile at ALL!

Filed Under: Facebook, Featured, Social networks, Twitter

Party guy. Image courtesy of Shutterstock57% of college students view their Facebook postings through rose-tinted glasses, blithely seeing nothing inappropriate.

That's a dangerous perception mismatch, given that at least one previous industry survey found that 69% of recruiters have rejected candidates because of what their social media personas reveal.

The figures concerning students' blissful ignorance come out of a new study from Persona, a social media utility dedicated to helping Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ users protect their professional reputations.

According to the earlier industry survey about recruiters' use of social media to screen job applicants, which was done in 2011 by the online image management company TrustedID Reppler and posted on CNN, out of about 300 recruiters surveyed, the vast majority - 91% - said that they trawl the internet to screen job candidates.

In fact, recruiters are nearly unanimous: Persona cites a 2012 Jobvite survey that found that 92% of recruiters planned to mine social media for recruiting.

So, where do college students get the idea that their postings are pristine?

It's not ignorance at work: 71% of students surveyed by Persona believe that Facebook profiles are "influential" or "very influential" components of hiring decisions.

In spite of that, students aren't clearing away their tracks. Some of the survey's findings:

  • 55% "never" delete or untag inappropriate photos and posts, or do so only "once a year."
  • 80% would feel "comfortable" or "very comfortable" if a recruiter examined their profiles.
  • 57% rely on privacy settings rather than actively monitoring their profiles.

Could it be that students aren't aware of what, exactly, a potential employer might find objectionable with, for example, pictures of candidates face-down in their oatmeal after one too many?

Students, I'm here to help. Read on.

In an April 2012 write-up of a CareerBuilder survey of some 2,300 hiring managers, AOL Jobs' David Schepp reported that those responsible for hiring were turned off by these categories of social media missteps:

  • Candidate's provocative/inappropriate photos/comments: 49%
  • Candidate drinking or using drugs: 45%
  • Candidate had "poor communication skills": 35%
  • Candidate bad-mouthed a previous employer: 33%
  • Candidate made discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion: 28
  • Candidate lied about qualifications: 22%

Sophos has recently been pumping readers full of tips on keeping safe on Facebook, plus some further tips and tricks for Facebook, like how to block someone, or remove certain posts.

Facebook. Image courtesy of ShutterstockIf college students need further help with keeping safe on Facebook, as in, keeping safe their chances of ever getting hired, it would behoove them to take a peek at one site that collates truly embarrassing Facebook postings.

If anything on that site raises a sense of déjà vu, you've got some cleaning up to do.

It's not just students who need to be taken to task, here.

None of us should trust privacy settings to block all the inadvisable things our friends post.

We should all be actively monitoring our online presences, including deleting or untagging inappropriate photos and posts on a regular basis.

Have I done that recently? Well... Uhhh... Hmm....

Excuse me, I have a bit of work to do.

Image of party guy and Facebook screenshot courtesy of Shutterstock.

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6 Responses to 57% of college students think their Facebook postings aren't vile at ALL!

  1. Wolf_Star · 372 days ago

    Schools are sometimes inadequate in preparing students for the cold, harsh realities of life outside school.

    There is an adage that "you only have one chance to make a first impression" and that is especially true in the business world, where you are judged not only by your academic credentials and accomplishments, but by perceptions and vague nuances.

    While it's great that someone is a real hip person in school, transitioning into the business world with its entrenched concepts of what is and is not acceptable behavior, whether real or perceived, can sometimes be a painful experience. And people talk, and talk, and talk, getting the word (sometimes true, sometimes not) out about someone being (or not being) acceptable in certain circles.

    Another wise saying to remember when leaving high school for college (and hopefully transitioning into an adult): "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became [an adult], I put away childish things."

    No one says don't have fun...just think really long and hard about posting it online.

  2. Dennis · 372 days ago

    I have never had a Facebook account and never will. I stay out of trouble that way. I don't have the time to waste on it anyway. Too many other great things to do.

  3. PS1 · 372 days ago

    Hiding your antics should not be the point. Would you hire someone you knew was likely doing all of these things and hiding it? I wouldn't. I would rather hire someone with self control.

    I recently interviewed for a job and didn't have to worry about my Facebook profile. Why? I don't do stupid stuff.

  4. There is also an issue of context. Some posts will look a lot different to a critical third party than they will look to you and your friends. That images of the girl lying in bed in her underwear maybe a beautiful artistic image to you, and pure pornography to a recruiter.

  5. Nobody83 · 369 days ago

    How about not asking possible future employees to log into their facebook account? How about that?

    • Mick A. · 369 days ago

      How about; 'if I show you my Facebook account, you show me your Facebook account - if you don't have one Mr Recruiter, log into your online banking site and show me that'.

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About the author

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.