You are unlikely to share photographs of your last vacation or tell stories of drunken nights out when you attend at an employment interview. However, if the prospective employer carries out an online search, your Facebook page may reveal some uncomfortable secrets. According to a study conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder, 28% of Canadian employers admit to researching job candidates through social media websites. Just over half of these employers check out Facebook profiles, 39% look at LinkedIn and 25% search through personal blogs. Social media checks are inexpensive and simple to conduct, meaning that employers are just as likely to screen applicants for temporary work as those seeking permanent employment.
Canada’s strict employment agency legislation, prevents prospective employers from rejecting your application as a result of protected characteristics, such as age, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation. However, there is nothing to stop employers rejecting your application based on a Facebook profile. A profile that suggests you may be unreliable, are only warming a chair in order to pick up a pay cheque and have no real interest in making a contribution to your employer.
Many social media users rely on their privacy settings to protect them from employers’ prying eyes. However, the protection afforded by privacy settings is limited. After you upload comments or photographs to the internet, you lose control over how they are used. One of your contacts may decide to copy a photograph across to his profile or share it with others. Also, social media privacy settings often change with little notice to users. You may think that your gripe about your previous employer or revelation of a drunken evening is being shared only with your friends. When someone searches your public profile, you may be shocked to find out just how much information they can access.
The results of a small study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology in April 2012 indicate why employers find Facebook such a useful source of information. The study found a strong correlation between the impressions HR professionals gleaned from Facebook profiles and employees’ actual performance at work.
Employers who are seeking to fill temp admin jobs want to be certain that the workers they hire are dependable and reliable. They are looking for temporary workers who will turn up on time, every day and make a positive contribution during their assignments. Employers will be reluctant to offer temp jobs to individuals whose Facebook profiles indicate that partying is a higher priority than working.
Craig Careers www.craigcareers.ca suggests you review your social media presence. Steps can be taken to remove negative images and text by contacting the service provider and requesting undesirable information be removed. However, it is up to you to monitor your personal image to avoid serious, unintended outcomes from what may have started out as just a fun evening.