“We can and do stalk people on social media — both job applicants and existing staff,” HR director of a UK based fashion business mentioned
Social media can and is a two sided tool, as many other things are. Whenever an employee takes excess sick leave, for example, there are 80% chances that an HR person will be looking into their Facebook posts for that period.
Even though there are specific EU data protection guidelines that require employers to have a good reason for proceeding this way, preventing it from happening is close to impossible. This is why it is highly important to keep your profile as private as possible.
These guidelines are expected to become law in many European countries. Therefore, analyzing an applicant’s or employee’s profile, a common practice among companies, will still be allowed, even though under more strict rules.
However, no one can say for sure that HR professionals will keep themselves from taking a peek.
“It’s just so easy to find out so much. And if there’s something in an applicant’s profile we don’t like, we just find another reason to turn them down.”
For example, in the US, employers are allowed to read public social media feeds and posts. Moreover, Fama, a Los Angeles based tech company, even offers “social media screening for business” services, which are completed in an instant “by machine learning and natural language processing”.
However, at some point, a Twitter employee posted an insight of an offer he received from Fama to sniff out job applicants who post about alcohol consumption, which created a little bit of social media chaos.
“It’s no secret that people in their twenties and thirties like to drink. But what happens when behaviour outside the office starts affecting their work in the office? How can you separate casual fun from problematic behaviour?” Tweeters were mad
Fama did not respond to comment and did not take part in the Twitter debate.