Most employers don’t check Facebook when screening applicants

Three in four employers don’t use social networking sites as recruitment tools, research has revealed.

A poll of more than 220 HR professionals by Personnel Today and law firm Charles Russell found that 73% of companies avoid trawling through sites like Facebook or Bebo to check information about candidates during the hiring process.

The study found that employers in the media, professional services and finance industries were most likely to go online to check out candidates’ profiles, with more than 35% of HR bosses from these sectors admiting they do so.

One respondent to the survey also claimed to use social networking sites to head-hunt new candidates.

“We have no concerns currently, we use [social networking sites] a lot to recruit people for the organisation,” he said.

The charity and retail industries were the least likely to use such methods, with just 8% and 7% of companies respectively going on Facebook or similar sites to research applicants.

Julie Weston, HR director at charity British Heart Foundation, warned that information found on such sites was unreliable.

“We would not use Facebook to check candidate information as the validity and reliability of the information is questionable. Also we believe it to be too intrusive to a candidate’s private life,” she told Personnel Today.

But Weston also rejected children’s charities calls last week for new law to ban employers using such sites as part of the hiring process.

“I personally do not favour more employment legislation, partly because it will be almost impossible to police, but also because the information is hardly likely to be rounded,” she said.

For full coverage of the research see the May edition of Employers Law.

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