Remember yesterday when we talked about LinkedIn? Sure you do, it just happened. Anyway, the discussion prompted one HR manager to reach out to me with related thoughts on Facebook. Keep in mind this person is directly in charge of hiring at an unnamed mid-size firm that, as far as I am aware, treats its staff pretty well (great culture, competitive salary, CPA exam support, etc). I suggest those of you looking for work pay close attention to the following.
Reading GC again this morning. I can never tell if this behavior is an indication of job engagement or apathy. Nonetheless, the inquiry about LinkedIn sparked some really pful dialogue. It caused me to think about what I perceive as much needed guidance on Facebook.
I know you field a lot of inquiries from those who aspire to be slave laborers CPAs. I think these folks are missing out on the basic do’s and don’ts of Facebook. While I loved the rule “facebook is for the people i enjoy being around and linkedin is for the people i am paid to be around” irresponsible Facebook privacy settings are abundant and makes TMI available to recruiters.
Case in point: I recently learned the name of a student who accepted our offer. I couldn’t recall exactly who he was- give me a break, I speak with hundreds of students- so I typed his name into FB. Not only could I see the profile pic I was looking for, I was able to view all of his albums. I want to rescind the offer after viewing the album of his fraternity trip to Vegas. (And yes, I know that I didn’t have to look, but we don’t have to look at car accidents and we still do.)
Second case: A candidate is coming in to the office for an interview. The staff accountant assigned to take the candidate out to lunch does a name search on Facebook. Before the candidate arrives to the office, the email system is routing pictures of said aspiring CPA in a toga. So much for a first impression that conveys professionalism.
Also, one doesn’t even have to go to Facebook to see these pictures. I have Outlook Social Connector, which integrates Facebook and Outlook. If a person emails me from an email account associated with their Facebook account, guess what: at the bottom of their email message, I can see any information that is public (e.g. their profile picture and wall).
I am sure other professionals and recruiters have similar stories. Can GC give these kids a heads up?
Lord knows we’ve tried.
Doesn’t everyone know recruiters and hiring managers check Facebook? I thought that was common knowledge but maybe not, or maybe people don’t realize that pics of them drinking in Vegas are not as cool to recruiters as they might be to their friends.
A few quick tips:
Make sure your Facebook settings are TOTALLY private and not just lazy private. The broader Facebook privacy setting will only block your wall from strangers but your friends, likes and EVERY SINGLE PICTURE are still out there for others to stalk. Since Facebook privacy settings are subject to change (and do, constantly), it’s your job to stay on top of things and make sure you’re only sharing what you want to share.
Use an email you don’t often use as your Facebook login email. This is common sense. When I was screening interviewees for my last job, I would routinely plug their email addresses in to see who would pop up and, not surprisingly, almost everyone did. Let’s just say a few of them did not get interviews. Gmail is free, there’s no reason not to have a spare for this purpose.
Reconsider your profile picture! True story, one of our CPA exam students emailed me with a sob story about how he had been unable to study for weeks and therefore failed his exam miserably and not only wanted advice on how to pass but free time to study even though he’d used up most of the time on his course. Well he forgot we were also friends on Facebook, so when he popped up in my timeline, I couldn’t help but notice the picture of him partying in Mexico with a half-spilled Corona in his hand. The picture had been uploaded the week before his exam, and was even conveniently captioned with “had a great time last week!” so I knew that he was totally full of shit. While not all cases are that extreme or closely connected, it is important to put your best foot forward on Facebook, at least if you are going to allow strangers to see your profile photo. If you can’t handle using a professional shot for your profile, change your privacy setting so no one but your friends can see it.
I’m sure there are a bunch of things I’m missing here, so if anyone has anything to add, you know what to do.
Our friends at FINS recently posted some must-fan Facebook pages specifically for accountants and though we agree with their suggestions, we thought it would be prudent to add a few of our own.
Before we get to those, though, let’s talk about the five FINS listed.
1. The Big 4 (all of them, if you’re really really excited to land that dream public accounting gig you’ve always dreamed of… hooRAH!)
3. Journal of Accountancy
4. CPA Technology Advisor
5. Local CPA Societies
These are all great suggestions but let’s be real about it, a good number of us use our Facebook pages for so much more than professional networking. So how about some real-world suggestions for the accounting folk out there?
1. Vodka. I don’t care if you prefer martinis or homebrew, by fanning vodka you are reiterating your commitment to professionalism in all you do as per the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. Trust us, it’s a lot easier to be ethical and bring in clients when you’ve been on a weekend-long bender and simply don’t care anymore.
2. Accountants do it with double-entry. There’s no need to perpetuate stereotypes of the boring accountant, go ahead and shock your conservative pals by fanning this group to show that you DO, in fact, have a sense of humor and even choose to exercise it every now and then.
3. Accountants are sexy. Well? They are, dammit, especially if you followed our advice and got into the vodka. A couple of those and that mousy chick in the cube next door will be EXTRA sexy.
4. Stuff Accountants Like. Even though SAL has taken a possibly permanent vacay from blogging, reading through past entries is still entertaining if you haven’t read them before. Great for when you’re taking a break between vodka and reconciliation.
5. Going Concern. Listen, FINS, we aren’t offended that you accidentally left us off your list. But don’t expect us to share any of our vodka with you.