Rochester NY Stake Employment Center

April 12, 2011

Do Companies check Google, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or Blogs before hiring?

Filed under: Social Media — Larry @ 9:07 am


YES!!!! 75 percent of U.S. recruiters and human resources professionals say their bosses require them to research job applicants online. More importantly, 70 percent report that they have rejected candidates after such sleuthing.

Whether it is ethical or not to base a hiring decision on a job candidate’s Facebook, Myspace or other social media page, it happens every day by all types of employers.

Recent Scenario: A manager at a consulting firm was hiring for a senior analyst position. She had narrowed the field to two candidates, R.D. & P.J and needed to must make her final recommendation to the company’s human resources department immediately. Both candidates graduated from the same highly ranked business school that she had. Both had also boasted appropriate work backgrounds and shone in their interviews.

However, R.D. was first in line for the job because of his leadership skills, reputation for tireless energy and great communication skills. Before making her final decision, the manager decided to Google both candidates.

Her initial search revealed that R.D. was involved in nonprofit work and had won community service awards. She was impressed. But then she landed on his friend’s Facebook page.

On one Facebook page she found an album of pictures showing R.D. drinking, smoking cigarettes and – in his words – “smokin’ blunts” with college fraternity brothers. The page belonged to R.D.’s friend, who had not enabled his privacy settings.

She then Googled the other finalist, P.J. and found only work-related sites that listed her as an effective project manager.

R.D.’s online photos caused the manager to rethink her choice and to grapple with the slippery boundaries between public and private life.

THE RESOLUTION: The manager concluded that R.D. would not fit in with the company’s professional work environment and her team. She could not waste time or money on hiring the wrong person. Yet she wondered whether she arrived at her decision fairly. After all, R.D. had not offered the information willingly, and he had set the appropriate privacy settings on his own Facebook page. Also, the manager had not disclosed that she would conduct a background check online.

THE LESSON: Be careful what you post…
Many people do not realize the extent to which their friends and associates could harm their online reputations. For example, friends who post and tag photos with their name and online identity on Facebook and elsewhere may have much more open privacy settings. Whatever is publicly accessible becomes public information, no matter who uploads it. It is more efficient for HR professionals to conduct online searches than to conduct reference checks, so this is a growing dilemma for companies.

Before posting information and photographs on Facebook, remember that in the virtual world, our houses are made of glass. Every piece of data is permanent and stored in a digital archive. More than half of employers cite provocative photographs as the biggest factor in the decision not to hire.

From Job Search Companion March 2011

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1 Comment »

  1. It\\\’s important to know about people if you are planning to hire them as employees or contractors, or anyone else with access to things that are important to you.

    You can\\\’t tell by looking at someone if they are trustworthy. The best thing to do is to do a criminal background check. You can do them online in minutes and then feel secure that you did your homework. You can never be too careful.

    Comment by Tom the Background Check Guy — December 9, 2011 @ 9:38 pm


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