Should employers examine candidates’ Facebook profiles?

There’s a debate going on right now about whether or not employers ought to check out a potential employee’s Facebook profile during the hiring process.

One side of the argument goes like this:

Companies have no business stalking job candidates’ Facebook profiles.  People’s personal Facebook profiles are meant for friends and family and their content is not relevant to their professional lives nor how they’ll perform on the job.  That’s what LinkedIn (and sometimes Twitter) are for.

The other side of the argument goes like this:

Smart employers consider a candidate’s Facebook profile content when making a hiring decision.  Much can be inferred about the candidate’s character and potential just by looking at the choices they make in creating their profile.  In fact, employers are gathering data from candidates’ Facebook profiles in a very systematic way.  This chart from Forbes.com shows the rating system one company uses to try to predict what type of employee a candidate would be, based on his or her profile.

But whether or not a company should look at a candidate’s Facebook profile might be beside the point.  Why don’t candidates who prefer to keep their Facebook strictly personal adjust their privacy settings so that only friends and family can view their information?  Otherwise, they’re putting themselves out there for employers to make certain assumptions, that may or may not be correct, about the nature of the worker from the nature of the Facebooker.

About TRC Staffing Services, Inc.

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