Not for Your Eyes Only

Is it fair for employers to judge applicants by their Facebook pages?

8 January 2010

A recent Harris Interactive survey found that 45 percent of human resource professionals use social networking Web sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to research job candidates, and 11 percent more plan to do so soon. Also, 35 percent of employers reported that they decided not to hire someone after checking out the applicant on those sites and finding such things as provocative photos, indications of alcohol and drug use, and comments that bad-mouthed former employers.

Are you concerned that information about yourself online could hinder your chances for a job? Is it fair that employers are using social networking sites to screen job candidates?


Responses to October’s Question

Getting Paid to Play

Companies are using video games in team-building exercises for their staff. At Grinnell Computers, in Beaumont, Texas, for example, employees are encouraged to spend about two hours per week at work playing an online game in which players shoot at each other. The company’s founder says it’s a good way for employees to relieve stress and bond with their colleagues and managers.

Do you think playing video games with your co-workers is good for team-building and relieving stress?


Work-Play Benefits

I absolutely agree that allowing video games at work is a positive thing, especially for those involved in engineering or other demanding technical fields. I have been lucky enough to work for companies that allowed this, and it certainly enhanced my work experience.

Playing online games is good for stress relief. It also encourages networking, communication, and camaraderie. At one company, we played video games for about 30 minutes at the end of the workday. It gave everyone something to look forward to. Consequently, employees exuded a positive outlook throughout the day, regardless of workload.

Furthermore, the technical skills required to play games are also applicable to work. Games call for good hand-eye coordination and encourage strategic thinking and planning, and they certainly keep your mind active—all skills that are invaluable in the workplace.

Luke Balzan
Collinswood, Australia


Hostile Games, Hostile Employees

This kind of exercise sends the wrong message, and would work against its goal. Playing violent video games would not allow for workplace bonding but rather would instigate hostility. Violence in the workplace should not be condoned in any form. It may begin as fun and games, but what happens when actual workplace violence occurs?

Douglas Sipes
Wichita, Kan.


Healthier Alternatives

In theory it is a good idea. But there must be better, healthier alternatives. A physical activity related to a team-building exercise would be just as beneficial, and more positive for one’s physical well-being.

Robert Hannagan
Bethel, Conn.


Games Build Relationships

Playing any kind of game with your co-workers helps build relationships. Further, if co-workers are at odds with each other, games can bring about a common understanding and provide a safer space to work out differences.

My first company had Ping Pong and pool tables and arcade games. Also, after work, some of my co-workers played Doom, a first-person shooter computer game by Id Software. In turn, the company had a family atmosphere, and employees were more invested in working hard there than in any other company I have since worked for.

Miriam Breslauer
Farmington, Mich.


Waste of Time

Only aggressive idiots would enjoy playing violent video games. Real thinkers and hard workers would not have—or take—the time to participate in such activities.

Patricia B. Ross
Bethesda, Md.

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