Facebook is 'not checked by most employers'


Facebook is 'not checked by most employers'
Social networking sites are not checked by most employers during the recruitment process, it has been suggested.

A poll by Personnel Today and legal firm Charles Russell has revealed that sites such as Facebook, Bebo and MySpace are not used by 73 per cent of human resources professionals.

However, finance, media and professional services bosses were found to be the most likely to engage in such activity.

Retailers and charitable organisations are least likely to look for a job candidate's profile on a social networking site.

Human resources director at the British Heart Foundation Julie Weston told Personnel Today that the practice is "intrusive".

"We would not use Facebook to check candidate information as the validity and reliability of the information is questionable," she said.

Furthermore, Ms Weston stated that she does not agree with proposals for "more employment legislation" proposed by a coalition of eight charities last week.

ClickAJob chief executive Yngve Traberg is at odds with this view.

"The Facebook facility exists, it is directly accessible to the public, and users voluntarily upload information about themselves for the express purpose of sharing it with others," he says.

"In an environment where so many people embellish their CVs beyond most accepted proportions, Facebook is a useful and necessary recruitment tool - to the point where recruiters not using it are not doing their job properly."

Emphasising that Facebook is available to all, Mr Traberg goes further.

"Considering the substantial investment they make in any new staff, employers are within their rights in checking people's backgrounds as extensively as possible - particularly if the methods used are in public domain," he remarks.

"But it's not employers who take liberties with careless information, it is other staff," he says. "And the simple fact is, you can't access any details about somebody on Facebook unless they want you to.

"I once hired a new recruit with the best of intentions, to find staff members giggling over pictures of her in less than her underwear," he recalls. "Few people want to live with that kind of embarrassment.

"There is also no doubt that Facebook would be more widely used if human resources professionals were more familiar with what it is and how to use it," he continues.

"Far from intrusive, mining information from Facebook is reacting to in-your-face, devil-may-care indiscretions that users are often proud to post in the first place," he says.

"That these users don't think of the implications for their careers is precisely the reason prospective employers might look at them so questioningly."

Related categories: HR / Recruitment.

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