Is it a Good Idea For Companies to Look at Social Media Sites to Find Information About Employees and Future Employees?

There is a debate going on about whether companies should look at employee’s and future employee’s social media sites. Some people believe that it is a good idea to investigate someone’s social media site, while other people believe it is not a good idea. A CareerBuilder survey showed that 39% of companies look at future employee’s social media sites. Of the companies that looked at the social media sites, 43% uncovered information that negatively impacted the person, while only 19% discovered information that helped the person. In another survey, it was found that 77% of companies look at social media sites to find information about future employees, and 35% of the companies took people out of the running for the position.

Nancy Flynn, founder and executive director of the ePolicy Institute, believes it is a good idea for companies to look at social media sites. A reason for looking at employee’s social media sites is to prevent bad situations. Companies are placed in unwanted situations if a current employee posts bad information about them. Their reputation could be negatively affected by a comment made by an employee. Many employees admit to posting unethical things on social media. For example, some hospital employees have posted information about patients online which violates the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. If companies look at their employee’s social media sites, this problem could be controlled. Another reason for companies looking at social media sites is to look at future employees. They can look for signs of disruptive behavior that could affect the company if they hire the individual.

Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights institute, believes it is not a good idea for companies to look at social media sites. A reason for not looking at an employee’s social media site is because they could be fired for something that is not related to work at all. It is unethical to fire someone based on personal preferences they have on social media. Another reason against looking at social media sites to find information about future employees is that a company could miss out on a good employee based on their personal preferences. Also, looking on someone’s social media site could cause a company to get in trouble. A company could learn that the person is disabled, and if they hire someone else they could be sued by that person for unfair consideration.

I believe that companies should not look at social media sites to find out personal information about a person they want to hire. I think a company could be missing out on qualified applicants by searching through all their posts. I do think it is good idea for companies to hire a professional company to look up information about future employees, but the professional company should only look up important information. The professional company should look up information about criminal records and other background information.

What do you think of companies looking up information about you on your social media sites?


9 thoughts on “Is it a Good Idea For Companies to Look at Social Media Sites to Find Information About Employees and Future Employees?

  1. There are pros and cons of both sides of the situation. I can see why employer’s want and feel the need to look at future employee’s social media sites, but I can also see how it can be annoying or tedious for those getting hired. I think it is necessary for some companies to look at future employee’s social media sites, so they can see the kind of person they are looking to hire. Personal life and work life are two different worlds, but sometimes those worlds can collide, and often your personality outside of work is not going to drastically change when you are in a work setting. The only difference will be how you handle yourself and being more professional at work, depending on the situation. A company is not going to want to hire someone who seems irresponsible and has tons of pictures of them going out and drinking and smoking every weekend.

    On the other hand, a company could misread something or look at a picture the wrong way and could potentially miss out on a great employee. Some people are really good at keeping their personal and work life separate, but there are some whose habits will carry over to the work place. No one should be penalized for going out on the weekend and having a few drinks with their friends or posting funny pictures or post on their friends walls. As long as they are not drunk or being unprofessional on the job, then there is no problem.

    This can go either way because when you work for a company, you represent the company, and a lot of companies do not want bad images associated with them. I think with the growth in technology, more companies will started looking into the personal lives of their future employees, but I also think this means that people will start putting higher privacy settings on their social media sites.

  2. I think that Employers should check social media, and i think that it is a good idea to an extent. If the company i going to be paying you a certain salary i don’t see why it should be bad to look into you by looking gat things that you posted about yourself. I don’t think that you should be putting anything out there that doesn’t represent who you are. If you don’t want something to be displayed to the world simply don’t post it regardless of your privacy settings. I think that at this point in your life you need to realize that people are going to judge you by what you post in general wether it is right or wrong I don’t know or wether it is conscious or unconscious that is simply the world we live in.

    That being said I think that Employers SHOULD confront employees when something happens or that they see something that they do not approve of so that they are able to know what they did wrong and hopefully learn from their mistakes. Being a professional individual does not and should not stop when you leave the office.

  3. It’s necessary for the companies to view employees’ social medias. Although personal life doesn’t truly affect job performance, people’s personalities and attitudes are easily shaped with their social lives. For example, people who like to go clubbing may not be able to focus a lot during work time and can be less reliable than people who have normal sleep hours. However, some employees have way more ability than you think, but they are really quite at work. This way companies can discover more potentials from certain employees. The case shows that it is reasonable for companies to know the employees’ better through their social lives. For new employees,human resource department can include this as one aspect of personal statement and decide whether hire them or not. This directly shows whether the person qualifies the position.

  4. I can understand both sides of employers looking into social media accounts. For a business, there are huge costs associated with a new hire including adding them to payroll, orientation, and training. Companies want to make sure they hire talented individuals who will add value to their company, not end up being a problem.

    On the other hand, searching social media profiles such as Facebook and Twitter can give an employer a false impression of the job candidate. Sometimes you are tagged in photos or referenced in other posts that may appear questionable to potential employers. Job candidates may also post their thoughts and opinions on religious or political issues that do not align with the company representative conducting the research. They may automatically eliminate your application based on your views and discriminate against you.

    In my own life, I have had professionals indicate they looked at my Facebook page before making decisions. For example, after receiving a scholarship in high school, I learned the application committee looked at candidates’ Facebook pages before making their final decisions. Luckily, I had nothing to hide on my page but this would be problematic for others.

    I don’t think employers should be able to view a candidate’s social media account because it enables them to make character judgments that may not be true.

    Here is another view of employers using social media.

  5. I understand and agree with some of the previous points made, but i think that you give up your privacy once you decide to post any pictures or comments on any social media. Is it really a violation of privacy if you intentionally post it online for the whole world to see? Quite simply if you don’t wish for something to be seen by employers, well maybe you shouldn’t post it. As a people we should have enough commonsense to not post something that may lead anyone to question our values or integrity.

  6. I agree that it is not acceptable for employers and companies to view a potential employee’s social media accounts. It is important for everyone to have their privacy and their personal life and that it is why I think that it would be inappropriate for companies to use such information when deciding on candidates.

    In the article that I have attached below, Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, made some very interesting points as to why employers should not review their employee’s social media. He mentions that what employees may do in their personal time and on their personal computers, should not be monitored by their employers. The only instance that it may be acceptable for a company to monitor their employee’s social media accounts, would be if the company has reason to believe that the employee is engaged in illegal conduct and activity.

    I personally believe that candidates should not be determined based on their social media accounts. I think that this sort of practice will start causing a lot of debates and issues.

  7. For me, it is a bad idea to check employees’ or future employees’ social media site, and it is useless. Here’s my reason:

    Social media is public and privacy. Everyone has the right to post their feelings and their life on the social media site. As we all know, the posts only represent the feeling or thoughts when the post is posted. According to our professor, the most common reason for people firing or not hiring because of posts in social media sites is complaining or saying something bad about their employers or former employer. I totally understand the reason why company chooses to do that. However, we need to admit that we all hate the employers sometimes. We have the right to say it out loud, right? However, as I said, it just expressed the feeling when we posted. The other reason for college students not get hired is alcohol using. Everyone drinks in the college. It makes sense. It is unrelated to work performance. Also, some posts are just for close friends. Or for a laughing.

    I also believe social media check is useless, because people can fake it easily. We all know what companies like. We can post what companies like and delete all the other things. In long run, social media sites will become places we pretend to be someone else in order to get hired.

    As I said it is useless and bad for a employer to check employees’ social media site.

  8. I concur with both points that a company browsing through photos videos and etc. of potential employees via social media is almost a breach of privacy. What is done outside of the workplace (as long as nothing illegal is being depicted) should be the person’s own choices, as long as their qualifications meet the job and are not negatively affecting the corporation in anyway. However the previous post’s statistic that most companies do not hire applicants because of false information and qualifications brings up an interesting point and I also think a third party should be used to conduct the background check. If a separate investigation were to find out that a candidate had been previously fabricating his work experience now that is a reason no not hire the candidate, but a questionable picture on a private Instagram showing nothing illegal by any means? I don’t see how that affects the quality of work in the office from 9-5.
    Attached is a link showing 7 mistakes that CAN cost you that internship or job that you really wanted.

  9. I never think that employers should look into the employees’ (or future employees’) social media profile and simply judge the book by its cover. In my opinion, we all need personal life. And personal life means completely unrelate to the professional performance. I agree that if you are a manager at a company, you should not post the photos that you were crazily drunk with bunch of friends at a bar or other inappropriate actions. But if one can act very professional when he/she is working, and at the same time he/she can act very crazy when he/she is off-duty, then why not? We cannot say they were drunk on a Friday night so he/she is not qualified for this job.

    Surprisingly, according to the statistical data, most employers reject the applicants after looking into their social media profile because they found out the applicants were lying about their qualifications or others (for instance, lying about previous experience or personal information). On the contrary, some employers did hire people after looking into their social media. The top reason is that, the applicants show positive personality and outstanding organization skill, giving the employers good impression.


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