Recommend Print

Recruitment

Employers Admit To Checking Job Candidates’ Facebook Profiles

Employers warned over employee Facebook checks

By Michelle Hammond
Wednesday, 25 May 2011

HR experts say employers must ensure they don’t discriminate against job candidates based on personal online content, after a survey revealed more than a third of employers check potential candidates’ Facebook profiles before offering them the job.

 

Recruitment firm Robert Half International recently surveyed 416 finance and accounting professionals and hiring managers, with 36% of employers admitting to checking potential candidates’ Facebook profiles prior to employing them.

 

Robert Half director Andrew Brushfield says the reality is that candidates need to be aware of their social media “footprint” when applying for positions.

 

“As a general rule of thumb, if there is anything online that employees don’t want their colleagues or bosses to see, they should remove it,” he says.

 

Brushfield doesn’t believe employers run the risk of “overstepping the line” because it is not illegal for them to check the Facebook profiles of potential candidates.

 

“That statistic is only going to get bigger. Social networking is far more prevalent among Generation Y than it is among Generation X or the Baby Boomers and, as they become the employers, they will use these tools more and more,” he says.

 

“In our business for example, we get on LinkedIn and do background checks, and Google searches and things like that.”

 

Brushfield says employers need to make an assessment about the online content they come across during the recruitment process.

 

“It depends on the position the candidate is applying for, the environment they’ll be working in, and the severity of what you’re seeing [online],” he says.

 

“In my opinion, photos and videos of a potential employee having a beer in a social environment is not a big issue. But if they’re seen to be doing something untoward or illegal, that should be a real flag.”

 

The survey reveals that 36% of employees say the use of social networking sites has had a negative impact on other people’s workplace relationships.

 

“While social media has helped foster a more interactive and sociable working environment, it is completely blurring the boundary between people’s personal and professional lives,” Brushfield says.

 

However, Brushfield doesn’t disagree with employees being Facebook “friends” with their staff, claiming this can often help to create a desirable work culture.

 

“I think it’s fine assuming that the content is fine. People spend so much time at work that it’s only natural they will develop friendships with their colleagues,” he says.

 

According to the survey, only 38% of respondents say their company has a clear social media policy in place for employees.

 

By comparison, 43% of companies that do allow their staff to access social media sites at work either don’t have a clear social media policy in place or don’t have a policy at all.

 

Rather than policing staff about the use of social media in the workplace, Brushfield says employers should discuss the issue openly.

Comments (0)

Subscribe to this comment's feed

Write comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy
Invalid Input
 

Follow us

StartupSmart on Twitter StartupSmart on Facebook StartupSmart on LinkedIn

Subscribe to StartupSmart RSS feeds

Events


  • START-UP CITY: ENCOURAGING CREATIVE RISK IN SYDNEY
    START-UP CITY: ENCOURAGING CREATIVE RISK IN SYDNEY Monday, May 30, 7.30pm Playhouse, Sydney Opera House We meet the people launching new digital projects and...

  • Inside Business Success
    How to Get More Customers, Generate More Profits and Make Your Business a Remarkable Success. What underpins business success? We believe that the ability ...

  • Ideas2Market Masterclass Workshop - Toowoomba
    The Ideas2Market Masterclass workshop is designed for existing businesses that are looking to grow, improve and foster sustainability.   This full day ...

  • Get on Board
    An insight into the boardroom for women considering leadership positions. It's no secret that the number of women on boards in Australia lags behind that in...

  • BOOKED for Lunch - Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki
    How do companies such as Apple create such enchanting products? And how do some people always seem to enchant others? According to bestselling business guru...

Sponsored Links

Our Partners