TBS Anonymous

HR Manager: “This Is What Your Facebook Pic Says to Me”

A new study shows that your Facebook profile picture influences your chance to get a job interview, so we invited an HR manager to tell us why she doesn’t waste her time looking at your LinkedIn profile.


When The Big Smoke asked me to confirm the legitimacy of a study, one which stated you are apparently 40 percent more likely to get a job interview if you have a good Facebook profile pic, I was shocked. It’s far more than 40 percent.

I’m unsure who they polled to arrive at that figure (maybe the industry are playing it down), but it’s common practice. The moment I receive a CV, I look them up on Facebook. Simple as that. On rare occasions, we might have mutual friends. But when we don’t, the fantastic “photos of whoever” function means I can see all the pics they’re tagged in on Facebook by other people that aren’t set to private.

Doesn’t matter, right? Yeah, about that.

By ways of an example, when I saw the picture of the applicant for an accountant position tongue-kissing a fish in Byron Bay in 2007, I made my decision gleaned from that. I don’t really bother looking at the LinkedIn profiles, in all honesty, they’re usually just the default version of the CV. We want to know who you really are. I want to know what I am letting into my clients’ workplace and, honestly, I generally have you pretty figured out before we meet the “professional you” via a phone call.

Researchers have now validated what I felt bad about in the past, but did anyway. It’s industry standard. We have to make a decision on what information we’re given, it’s our job; so we have no problems judging a book by its cover photo. If anyone is surprised, don’t be. Think of it this way, if you’re in a bar and meet a cute whoever, you are most likely to Facebook them as soon as you get home, right? So, how is it any different than trying to get the right person for the job?

I head up a large team for a recruitment agency and, unless the CV is particularly inappropriate or completely unqualified, we often print out the front page of the applicant’s Facebook profile and scan it along with the CV to the client.

I also expect that if I move on to a new job that my potential new employer will be doing the same to me and, honestly, bring it on. I don’t have photos of me at my hen’s night passed out with a glow-in-the-dark bra on.

But if you think my team and I are judgmental, be grateful we don’t ask for your password. It’s a growing trend in the U.S. market (our sister company does it) where applicants are asked to provide their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn usernames and passwords. They can’t force an applicant to do this, but it’s the fastest way they find out the “real you.” You can refuse, of course, but know it’s an immediate mark against your name.

Conversely, would I let our team leader look into my Facebook? Hell no. I am smart enough to have set my privacy settings so that “public” and “friends of friends” can’t see much, but I also have my own life that I don’t need management lurking through.

Put simply, Facebook tells us everything your CV doesn’t. That paragraph that tells us your hobbies include “international movies” and “tennis” tell me nothing! We want to know if you will turn up late every Monday because you get drunk every weekend, and we want to know if you are the type to constantly “quit and go backpacking.”

So, at the next interview you attend, assume that we already know the reason why there’s that gap in your résumé.


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