One of our objectives at Extreme Blue is to help our interns to prepare for employment and to maximize their chances of getting the jobs they desire.
For example, we provide guest speakers like Steve Choquette who provide advice and guidance on job hunting, resume writing and interview techniques.
Steve often reminds interns to:
Pay attention to what managers call "conditions of employment" details. Come to work on time, dress nicely, and focus on your work. The co-worker who dresses in sandals, shorts, and a T-shirt already has a full time job. The adage "you never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression" makes sense.
This makes senses to me, but it does lead to questions about how far employers should take such concerns.
For example, the New York times article For Some, Online Persona Undermines a Résumé describes recruiters who go as far as looking up applicants on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Xanga and Friendster, where college students often post risqué or teasing photographs and provocative comments about drinking, recreational drug use and sexual exploits in what some mistakenly believe is relative privacy.
I find the notion that such material is an accurate predictor of work performance, or that it is the proper concern of an employer, much more disturbing than the thought that young people occasionally engage in such behavior.
This does not mean that I either approve or disapprove of the activities, rather I think it is not my business to enquire in this manner.
It annoys me that some companies apparently think this is OK.
I certainly would not want to work for such a company.
Just because I could ignore the assumption of privacy made by the people posting to their personal Web sites, I do not believe that I should do this.
After all, much of the personal information that recruiters obtain from these Web sites, I am not legally permitted to enquire about during a face to face interview.
Yes, I do want to work with well rounded individuals, whose office behavior contributes to a congenial work environment, but work life balance suggests to me that a colleagues personal life should remain private and diversity reminds me that my personal standards and expectations may not be those of a work mate.
Oh, and for those not old enough to get the allusion in the post title, check out the lyrics to Signs by the Five Man Electrical Band.
Long haired freaky people need not apply