It exists in the public domain, but job seekers say that’s no reason to use a social media profile as part of the recruiting process.
In an online survey by recruiting expert Hays, 36 per cent of Singaporean job seekers believe employers use social networking profiles to help vet applications, but should not do so.
Some 33 per cent of job seekers not only believe employers use social networking profiles, but also believe that they should use such information to vet applications.
About 31 per cent think employers do not use social networking profiles as part of the recruiting process.
This survey reignites the debate about public versus private life, but this time it is not celebrities or politicians who are arguing for their right to privacy, but everyday job seekers.
The majority of job seekers feel that their personal life is their business, and their social media profile should not be used as part of an employer’s decision-making process.
The opposing argument says that any actions that take place in the public domain are open to public scrutiny and assessment.
From this position, some might say that reviewing a candidate’s social media profile is not that different to conducting a security check — although consent is required for the latter.
So is a social media profile like your Facebook page really any different from any other publicly available data? The survey shows that 36 per cent of job seekers certainly think it is.
In Hays’ experience, most employers do not leap to check a candidate’s online profile.
It is far more common for employers to extend their vetting process to include social media only if they feel a candidate might not be what he is portraying himself to be in the face-to-face interview.
In such cases, a Facebook profile with a public setting may reveal content that could make an interviewer see you in a different light.
So if you are searching for a job, it would be wise to change your privacy settings so that you do not share all your posted content with everyone. But do not just restrict your focus to purely social sites like Facebook or Twitter.
What about content on video-sharing sites, online forums or blogs? What about comments you have made on social bookmarking sites?
A potential employer who is using cyberspace to gather information about you will not stop at Facebook, so neither should you when editing your social media profile.
Of course, you can also make cyberspace work for you to enhance a potential employer’s perception of you.
For example, you can leverage the LinkedIn network or show your passion for your particular specialisation by blogging about latest trends.
This last point in particular can highlight your expertise to potential employers and show them what you could bring to the company, which can be very powerful.