Facebook: It's becoming bad for business.


Well the cat – or the monkey – is out of the bag.

On December 25, 2011 while you are playing with your new iPad, Nook and Kindle and wishing you bought batteries for the toys for your children, Facebook plans to bring the best gift possible: A new timeline set  on ruining your life.

While the new timeline is because according to Mashable.com “[you] can watch TV and movies, listen to music, and read news with your friends — all within Facebook,” There’s one significant feature that has the ability to sink or derail your chances for employment: The timeline itself. Here are my top three reasons why I’m curious to see how the new Facebook timeline fits in the grand scheme of social recruiting and Human Resources.

No more skeletons in the closet. Oh yeah, remember that long term relationship that you were in that turned sour back in 2008? Or what about the first time you got on Facebook in college back in 2005 and posted some inappropriate status messages about your college rival or the professor who gave you a bad grade? Yup, it’s all there. Truth be told, the information has never gone away but now it’s just so much easier for employers and potential employers to find out more about your past – both good and bad. I know I had a chance to relive some of the ups and downs of my Life A.F. (Life after Facebook) and I’m not too sure I like that accessibility and exposure that it creates. Your skeletons are no longer in the closet, they’re just a few simple clicks away.

The P word – Privacy. I’m curious to see what privacy measures Facebook puts in place to limit who can see what. Facebook has never had any trouble utilizing the “Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness” approach so I want to know how this turns out. Think about it: all of the memories that you thought were locked away are just a few short clicks. I’m pretty sure that if employers can judge you on a seven year credit history, they’re just as likely to judge you on your status messages, pictures and wall posts from that same time span. Is it fair? No. Is it par for the course these days? Of course it is.

Recruiters can be nosy. Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve always thought that social networks should be a forum where people can be free to express themselves with their friends and family and not have to worry about putting on their “9 to 5” persona at all hours of the day. The reality is that people are people. We have different hobbies, different view points and even different levels of participation in questionable activity. If you are a great employee during work hours, should your social network profile be scrutinized? I don’t think so. The reality is that more and more companies are searching Facebook profiles to learn about you everyday. You don’t seek recruiters and HR professionals peaking through your windows or eavesdropping on you at the bar so why is there such ease of access into your personal life on social networks? Beat’s me but I think that’s a blog post for another time 🙂

Long story short, I think this new Facebook Timeline is going to mean something for job seekers and actively working professionals but I’m just not sure what. I propose a rule: Dear Employer: If you had to search for it, it wasn’t meant to be seen by your eyes.

What are your thoughts?