Facebook – damaging candidate’s chances. A true story.

facebookI came across an article on HR Zone recently claiming that social media is feared by some graduate recruiters. Why? It can result in unsuccessful and unproductive employees and some stated that social media was actually dangerous for a company’s reputation if staff members publicly posted content on there. This is not to say that recruiters are not using it – plenty are and very successfully.  But what about the dangers of social media to potential candidates?

This got me thinking about a conversation I was having with a friend recently – an HR Manager at a company in the West End. She is currently recruiting for a graduate HR administrator role and here at BlueSky we are recruiting for a graduate level account executive so we were comparing recruiting techniques and candidate experiences.

Facebook was one of the first channels mentioned by my friend – not because they had advertised on there but what it had revealed about a candidate that had reached the final stages of the recruitment process. The candidate had undergone an initial telephone interview, had come in for a face to face interview and to have a look around the office and meet the rest of the team. Everything was great – my friend was relieved that she was to soon have some much needed support in the HR department, and it would be the end to what had been a very long recruitment process.

My friend decided, on the spur of the moment to type the candidate’s name into Facebook – she had never done this before but something made her do so this time!  No problem finding said candidate but what popped up shocked my friend somewhat. The candidate had a fan page with well over 2000 fans and what was it for? She was a rather provocative lingerie model and the pictures that were on the page were hardly daytime viewing!

So that put a prompt stop to the candidate’s chances of a job at the company. Why? Not because she was a lingerie model (and not because the largely male dominated company would probably have a significant reduction in productivity had she joined!!) but because this information was in the public domain, easy to be found by staff members but also clients!  So the HR Manager is back to square one in the candidate hunt.

Now a lot of people may say that the process of rejecting a candidate on the grounds of what can be found on social media channels is unfair but surely it is a common occurrence? What’s more, shouldn’t candidates be more careful about what they post in the public domain given the increased reliance by some companies on social media in recruitment? After all there are privacy settings on sites to protect certain areas.

Here at BlueSky we have not had any shocking discoveries like this, but that’s not to say we have not had our fair share of odd individuals looking to work here!  What’s your experience?

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4 thoughts on “Facebook – damaging candidate’s chances. A true story.”

  1. Far too many people lay themselves bare on social networking sites. Gen Y bang on about how techno savvy they are, yet it’s predominantly the younger generation who also reveal every aspect of their lives to total strangers who could one day conceivably be potential employers. My advice is always to be very wary about how much of your life you expose to the world. That’s why I am not a great fan of Facebook. I have a page but seldom use it as it is purely a vehicle for exposure to the minutiae of people’s lives.

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