Social networking profiles a ‘no-go zone’ for potential employers

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Despite the prevalence of social networking in many areas of our lives, employees remain overwhelmingly protective of their online profiles from the prying eyes of potential and current employers.

In a study by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters of 670 job seekers, the results were overwhelming – 70 percent were not friends with their managers or colleagues on social networking sites, 60 percent said they would not be happy for potential employers to view their online profiles as part of the recruitment process and 45 percent admitted they would check their privacy settings before beginning the application process to ensure their online content wasn’t completely accessible.

The findings reflected an overwhelming desire amongst employees to separate their personal and professional lives. To some, it may seem overly-cautious, but Robert Walters’ managing director James Nicholson said employees are right to recognise the importance of maintaining a distinction between work and play.

“People don’t generally use social media, other than professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, as a mechanism to secure employment, so it’s not an accurate reflection of their ability to do a job well,” he said.

Nicholson suggests employers don’t act quickly in making professional judgements based solely on an employee’s online profile.

“If you are going to use it to evaluate a candidate, it’s best to be transparent about it, and make recruitment decisions based on the candidate as a whole,” he added.

Have you ever used social networking to vet potential employees?