Foiled by Facebook? Mangled by mailing lists? Employers do take note

Foiled by Facebook? Mangled by mailing lists? Employers do take note

Summary: If this hasn't sunken in, yet please take note -- what you do online will haunt you. But it's not just social networks that open sourcers have to worry about.

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If this hasn't sunken in, yet please take note -- what you do online will haunt you. But it's not just social networks that open sourcers have to worry about.

Participants in open source communities are subject to even closer scrutiny, because employers can simply follow the threads and see how well an individual comports themselves on a list, and what kind of contributions they've made. Sure, it's still a bad idea to brag about excessive alcohol consumption or your sexual exploits on Facebook, but you probably want to watch the flames on project mailing lists as well.

So let me offer some advice to employers and potential employees alike. If you're hiring in the open source community, someone on the hiring committee ought to be combing through mailing lists, blogs, and social network sites to evaluate new hires. And through code contributions, of course, if you're hiring a developer.

A few minutes with Google and some email archives, and you can usually find out pretty quickly what kind of personality your potential hire has, and whether or not they play well with others.

On the contributor side -- I see all too many open source contributors who are too willing to flame first and think later. I'll endorse the contributors who engage in a bit of well-meaning snark now and again, but if a potential hire shows an inability to work with others in the project on the mailing list, it's unlikely they'd be a better bet when hired.

I know my blogs and general online presence has been evaluated when I've been in the hotseat, what about you?

Topics: Social Enterprise, CXO, Collaboration, Open Source, IT Employment

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4 comments
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  • Even Bad PR is Good PR

    Unless the person reading your posts is Sister Mary Elephant, he will be well aware that flames, craziness and just over all anarchy are part of Usenet, S.N. and other textual novelties.

    I would rather a person who suffers and benefits the ups and downs of being part of the Society of Networking, than a wallflower who is a complete unknown.
    jabailo1
  • RE: Foiled by Facebook? Mangled by mailing lists? Employers do take note

    1. Never say anything that you won't stand behind; even if talking to your grandmother.

    2. All speech carries consequences. And all forms of censorship carry consequences too. The nice thing is, if you get adverse consequences to something you say or post, you can let everyone know about it and why it's not right.
    Dr_Zinj
  • It gets worst

    Hi, the situation you describe is in reality a lot worst ... web usage logs (in/out) combined with tools such as Maltego really make it easy for anyone to verify/investigate any form of web related activity - have a look at the following movie example - a little technical but impressive outcome -
    http://ctas.paterva.com/Maltego_Videos/Episode%204/

    My related blog post entry is at
    http://matox.com/pierre/?p=74

    BTW I agree that some form of web activity (within reason) is far better than no web activity at all ... in the next couple of years industries may even come up with indicators that describe how 'passive' or 'active' a potential hire is within a defined community or knowledge exchange space -

    Cheers, pierre@matox.com
    matox
  • RE: Foiled by Facebook? Mangled by mailing lists? Employers do take note

    A potential interviewer smugly revealed to me that he had Googled my name just prior to the interview. My response was like 'and ... so what?". I wasn't hired. Didn't like the vibes, the organization or the person interviewing. They did me a favor.
    tcalbaz@...