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More than half (64%) of bosses admit to searching Facebook or Twitter to check the suitability of potential employees, according to new research by employment law consultancy Peninsula Business Services.
In a survey of 3,522 employers Peninsula found 64% of bosses checked personally or asked a fellow worker to check the suitability of a candidate using Facebook or Twitter. Just under half (44%) of those who use social media to gauge potential employees say they have changed their mind based on what they have seen online.
Jon Cleaver, head of IT for Peninsula Business Services said today, "Employers need to stop basing their recruitment decisions on Facebook or Twitter, you need to rely on what is important, the interview. Sadly with the high popularity of social media sites it is very easy to identify the life culture of employees and these can contribute towards a job offer decision. Social media may not be an accurate picture of the individual, it does not represent their character, work ethic or commitment, there is no way you can determine just how hard the individual will work simply by looking on their profiles on the internet."
Mr Cleaver continued, "Employers are making themselves liable to being taken to employment tribunal if they use this unprofessional method of selection. They need to ensure they use the interview as the basis of their decision. Take into account what the employee says, their experience, qualifications and references, these factors should be enough to base your recruitment decision."
"Employees would be wise to take into account that their social media accounts could be checked before an employment decision is made. Whilst I am not advising to lock down your profile it may be a good idea to review content and remember that it could be used as a window to the personality of the candidate," Mr Cleaver concluded.