How stop an Employer Spying on your Facebook Profile

As we’ve already discussed, being squeaky-clean on-line might be necessary if you’re looking to get that dream job. Unfortunately, we live in an era where people are going to be checking out your background to see if you’ll fit into their organisation, and they have more opportunities than ever now.

Facebook has grown massively over the past ten years, and people have grown up with it. Not only that, some people document their entire life, warts and all, in a series of status updates and pictures. It can be quite an eye-opener.

And so, when you apply for a job, there’s every chance that the employer is going to look for you on-line and dig out as much as they can using all the technology at their disposal. So how can you make sure you’re not giving the wrong impression?

What Will Employers Look For?

This really depends on the kind of job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a job that may have a public facing role, then it’s very likely that your future employer would like to know how you act in public. If it looks like you spend every Friday night in a drunken, drug-addled heap in a gutter, they might think you’re not the right person for the job. Especially if you take a selfie each time and post it to Facebook.

And that’s the first place they’ll look: Facebook.

So what do you do? Well, if you do post some choice offerings to your followers, you need to check that they’re not being published on the public timeline. It’s easy enough to do, but many people don’t do it.

First of all, check your privacy settings:

fb privact

If you see the word “Public” in that bit that says “Who can see my future posts” then anyone can see everything you post, warts and all.

You should ideally change that to ‘Friends’ which means only people who have actually befriended you can see your posts.


But, there’s a sneaky way friends of friends can see your images. You’ll notice there’s a setting called “More Options.” As it says on the previous page, it’s only going to share with Friends, however, take a look at that “Friends of tagged” tick box. That’s potentially a worry.


How Sneaky Employers Will Check You Out

Let’s say you apply to work at a company and the HR manager wants to find out what you’re up to. You’ve been careful and set your privacy settings to ‘friends’. All good there.

However, you go out regularly with a guy who’s a little less secret about what he posts and is prone to tagging you in dodgy images, here’s where your privacy might be at risk. With this setting, friends of your friend can see posts and images that you’re tagged in. If you’re tagged along with some others, all their friends will see the picture, too. This vastly expands the number of people who could see your picture, one of whom could be a potential employer.

Some Go Even Further…

There are now agencies that specialise in digging through people’s social media profiles to find out what they get up to and their tactics certainly do raise eyebrows. They have been known to pay others to befriend potential employees on Facebook in order to, well, let’s not beat about the bush, spy on them.

Are you sure you know who all your friends are? Maybe it’s worth checking them out…

The Upshot?

As long as a potential employer doesn’t use any protected characteristics to refuse an application, they are quite within their rights to check you up on social media. It might not sound right, and some would think it’s just downright wrong, but if we do insist on sharing everything we do on-line, we have to be ready for the consequences.