The surge of social media has definitely changed the way the Human Resource department do their hiring process. Nowadays, it is understood that your employer will do a quick Google search on your name. Next to that is sometimes, a quick Facebook search. While not all companies do this, employers have realised that Facebook profiles are quick snapshots of an individual's personality. There is something spontaneous about seeing a person having fun, hanging out with friends or his loved ones. Personalities come out, and you have a firmer grasp on what that individual's objectives are in life.
Privacy breach or research?
Many have insinuated that this sort of online checking is toeing the line at a person's right to privacy. However, employers may argue that it is just a sort of skim through a person's profile, and most of these profiles are already public to begin with, so it is readily available to anyone who searches for their names. For those applying for a Public Relations or Sales position, there is more effort to research about an applicant as they will represent the company, and their reputations need to be scot-free to avoid any untoward incidents for the company.
However, it is still quite common to find out that an employer has glanced over your Facebook profile, even if you are working for another industry, like banking. In fact, this is all the more reason for them to check on your profile. Banking professionals have access to sensitive documents. It is important that their employees are trustworthy, that they are individuals who will not willingly share important information so easily.
Does your profile instil trust?
If you are working in the banking industry and are looking for a job, then you have to make sure that your online profile is something that you can be proud of. In short, even if you will not reveal any confidential documents, you have to give the impression that you are an upstanding individual. You should check if your Facebook profile would show that you are a responsible person, and that you can be trusted to handle or even work with large sums of money.
Expect to be checked out by recruiters and HR
Online research by employers is something that is fast becoming commonplace. It is high time that we accept this fact, and start cleaning up or online profiles to present a positive personality to your employers. Of course, for the part of the employers, it is unethical to judge a person based on what they see on a Facebook profile. To solve this dilemma, it is best that both employers and applicants are upfront. Employers can clarify the seemingly negative traits found online. This will allow the applicant to defend himself, and to provide context for whatever is found online.
It is also important that employers draw the line in merely doing background checks versus grossly disregarding the privacy of their applicants. While there is enough reason to justify the online background checks, they must also realise that going beyond the quick and generic check will be a violation of one's privacy, whether the account is a public profile or not.
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