Friday, December 22, 2006

Job Blogging

From serious back to...well, at least not so serious. I have a question for all of you. We're hiring a project assistant on my team right now, and we came across a resume of an individual who is a mirror image of our current project assistant. Same undergrad, although two years apart. Same graduate school, same year, same program (and they surprisingly haven't met before). Solid credentials working in the Middle East.

Because of all those similarities, our current project assistant was able to locate this applicant's facebook page and her blog. It made for interesting and sometimes funny reading, but I couldn't help feeling a little...unscrupulous in reading her blog. As if I were prejudging her interview. That said, it was painfully clear from what she wrote that she would be bored stiff as a project assistant, and would likely jump ship after 4-6 weeks on the job. This definitely came out in the interview, but that just reinforced those particular impressions from the blog.

So, several questions:
  1. How much could I have legitimately considered the information from her blog to make a hiring decision?
  2. Also, are there any rules of thumb for what's safe to put on a blog when you're looking for work and how deep you should bury it? What I mean is, if it weren't for the fact that she shared a lot of similarities with our current project assistant, should she have felt safe in posting that kind of information on her blog? By the way, she did "mask" her posts by fudging names, like "Brook!ngs".
  3. If she shouldn't have felt safe about doing that, is there a nice and discrete way to send her a message telling her she probably shouldn't start a blog post with "Unemployment Watch: Day 79"?

What do you all think?


HoBs said...

This was a hot topic last year sometime. All the news outlets I read (npr, nytimes, etc.) were talking about it. Largely saying you shouldn't blog anything as employers can and should read anything you put up.

It came up for me while looking for a job lsat year. I was surprised actually at how common it was for people to have read my blog, or more commonly, my column.

I'm amused at how she obscured her names a bit. I did the same minimal obscuring. Instead of my full first name, I used just my first initial. That really didn't do much good.

In the end, my response was, I don't care. Let people think what they want. My writing is part of who I am, let them read it if they want, and I just stuck to some naive idealistic faith that interviewers wouldn't use the information inappropriately:

hcduvall said...

The internet is a public space, and unless it's a private entry or the like in livejournal, there should frankly be no expectation of privacy. It'd be a bit remiss of either side to not consider the implications of that. As Hobs said, at end of the day the assumption is that employer is being appropiate by considering only the relevant info.

Commenting on the informality of the titles, though, would be tacky. It's not a suit and tie event either.