Employees beware! Facebook, Twitter can harm your job prospects

Sunday, November 14, 2010

MELBOURNE - It seems employers and recruitment companies look beyond the resume, letters of recommendations and other information when evaluating a prospective employee - they are increasingly scrutinising the candidates’ social networking profiles to vet job applications.

Job hunters are being told to clean up their profiles or risk being overlooked for jobs by prospective employers - because the companies are watching, reports News.com.au.

“Sites such as Facebook are being used increasingly by companies to screen candidates,” said Marcus Sandmann, Michael Page’s head of marketing for Asia Pacific.

“Social media is all about an online public forum. What you put online stays online, and it opens you up to extra scrutiny. People looking for roles need to be mindful of that,” he said.

Scanning Facebook is not yet built into Michael Page’s official recruitment process, but the company’s ‘more savvy consultants’ always examine social networking profiles.

This is to better understand candidates and unearth any ‘peculiar behaviour’.

Michael Page also uses professional networking sites such as Linkedin to cross-reference candidates’ employment history and other details.

“It is not just Facebook. We cross-reference details on candidates’ Linkedin profiles to make sure it matches up,” said Sandmann.

Another recruiter, Hays, found that almost half of all jobseekers thought social networking profiles should not be used to vet applications.

“Most jobseekers believe their personal life is personal and their social-media profile should not be used as part of the decision-making process,” said Hays regional director Peter Noblet.

“But it is in the public domain and, as a candidate, you don’t have much control over whether it is used or not. It can no longer be argued that Facebook is purely social and Linkedin is business. The lines have been blurred and companies are looking at those profiles more and more in the same way they Google candidates’ names to see what’s out there,” he added.

Twitter, video-sharing sites such as YouTube and online forums or blogs are also being used to gather information about prospective employees.

“We can no longer keep digging in the same hole to find talent. Social media is going to have a much greater influence on recruiting,” said Rick Khinda, Adecco head of marketing. (ANI)

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