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The Facebook phenomenon

Putting yourself about on social networking sites? Make sure you don’t get egg on your face.

Oxford University is not the only place using social networking sites to check up on people. Research by financial services recruitment firm Joslin Rowe suggests 20% of employers now use the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn to check on people before they hire them. The main things that put would-be employers off candidates using such sites (LinkedIn probably excepted) include references to drug use, nude photographs and lewd jokes.

But if you can suppress the urge to tell the one about the Chinese man and the Dutch sheep, social networking sites may turn out to be quite useful. The head of European recruiting at one US bank says his American counterparts already use them to source candidates for jobs.

European financial services recruiters are doing it too. Adrian Kinnersley, head of the financial services practice at recruitment firm Astbury Marsden, says they source candidates for jobs in M&A, capital markets and private equity from the likes of LinkedIn. It does help if you’ve studied something along the lines of an MBA and belong to a large group: “If you’re an INSEAD MBA you’ll probably be connected to all the other INSEAD MBAs in your year. A lot of people invite recruiters to join their groups, making it possible for us to contact you directly,” Kinnersley says.

And what about dubious photos and Bernard Manning-style humour? Kinnersley says bankers don’t go in for such things: “Anyone with an ounce of common sense isn’t going to put dodgy photos on their page.”

Comments (26)

Comments
  1. Absolute rubbish that “Anyone with an ounce of common sense isn’t going to put dodgy photos on their page.”

    Facebook is for friends, fun etc. So why should we care about recruiters seeing our facebook and why should they!!! Uploading photos, does not define someone’s personality……..! Sorry but I think this is absolute rubbish – we live in a world where we have to feel free to live the way we want (reasonably) and not trying to be someone else by always being politically correct. That is why UK is struggling, because they are trying too hard to be politically correct.

  2. This is an interesting topic. I did a google search on one of my staff members. This was just me having a bit of fun to see what came up. To my suprise the name showed up on a chat site which led me to what i can describe as a very ‘sensual’ group of people. My little office angel was not so angelic it appeared. It was very embarrasing but really a private matter and nothing I could make an issue off. From an employment standpoint at least.

    My question would be what should an employer do if they come across a staff member’s personal page? What if quiet sally in the office becomes ‘saucy’ sally on the web?

  3. ‘Uploading photos does not define someone’s personality.’

    This will depend on the type of photos, would it not? While people are allowed to have private lives it could be awkward for a prospective employer to come across inappropriate photos of a prospective employee. Look what happened to Katie Rees who originally won Miss Nevada 2007.

    Do you think the photos she took while ‘having a laugh’ speak volumes about her personality?

  4. I didnt know that Astbury Marsden even had a handle in this market place. Looks like they dont if they have to rely on internet sites to work out the market.

  5. Its me again.

    I totally agree with (above). In response to Twine, I would say that the type of picture i take or whatsoever, will not or should not reflect on my working life. At work I will behave professionally and with integrity.

    As to quiet Sally, she has the right to be saucy sally as long as this is not affecting her performance at work. Am i right to say that?

    I seriously think its over the top if an employer consider what he/she sees on facebook before taking any recruitment decision. Its just poor.

  6. Who cares — this is just some silly HR peasant having a rant…

  7. “N, Investment Banking”
    I hope you burn out at 40 having not made enough money to retire on.

  8. Yet another example of HR doing something else other than a process to assist their company getting the best quality personel.

  9. It is extremely pathetic, a professional is someone who can establish the difference between their private life and work and can keep the two apart so as not to affect their performance doing the tasks they do best. If we open up everyone’s lives a lot of secrets would come out and half the country would be out of a job. Does a company really want to risk losing a brilliant prospective employee, when in fact they could be responsible for a lot of success in the future, due to the fact a mate tagged them in a picture in a ‘compromising’ position? Fair enough drugs and illegal activities should be taken seriously but you will usually be able to tell by the small pupils and worn out expressions’ in the morning!

    Lets use some common sense. The top comment is bang on, the UK is falling apart because of political correctness. Are we really supposed to believe that the guys/gals searching these sites have led perfect lives? I say we take them out for a few, and bring your camera phone!

  10. If people want to put dodgy photos or write rude jokes to their friends that’s fine!
    If they are the type of person who is clever enought they would just limit who can and can’t see their profile and which parts of the profile the public can see! All the options are there you just got to use some common sense.
    It is a great networking tool as well!
    Having said that Linkin is a much better business networking tool for sure.

  11. True, but to tell you the truth everything you do matters and your comments are a nice sentiment, but in reality life is not a nice sentiment… Whether it is taking drugs or any other small indictable offence and advertise it on the web, you’re an idiot it you think they wouldn’t hold it against you..

    Unfortunately the future is now with regard to online personalities and personal histories, whether you like it or not, companies will review webpages like these for background (as it is easy and quick). If you don’t like it, well then I suggest you keep posting comments as nothing is going to change this fact (unfortunately).

  12. who do employers think they are at the end? this is a dictatorship of employers. sad. at the end, they’ll rule our entire lives. it is the principle they behave like that which is dangerous. It s called spying.

    Be extremely careful with HR. I was talking to a HR assistant, and said i and a few colleagues went to a “conceptual” pub which was nice but far from work, and that surprinsingly we met a few colleagues who were used to going there. What did she say? She asked me where the place was and said later in the conversation that she would send someone just to see who go there, just in case, and IT WAS NOT A JOKE.

    Before, i thought she was sympathetic, but in fact, she’s a danger and a threat, and proves HR in my company deals with private lives as they want to have a look to what you say and where you go when you re not at work. Disgusting.

  13. At least in school we were only held responsible for what we did in school uniform- you could get expelled for doing dodgy things in school uniform, but they couldn’t do anything to you if you did dodgy things out school uniform.

    Work is work and non-work is not work. OK, some people do forget the the company Xmas party is still work, but give the rest of us a break please.

    hedge fund employee Reply
     
  14. to jealous ‘Anonymous’ HR & Recruitment who didny have the IQ to work in Front Office….
    If your comment at N from investment Banking had any thought before posting then you would have realised that any Investment banker / city dealer who has survived this market til the age of 45 has done very well indeed!

  15. personally I dont have any problems with people checking Facebook or any other website that would demonstrate a darker side of a potential employee. After all an employer has the right to know who they are ggoingg to invest in like any other side of their business they are entitled to do their research. If someone has un toward pictures, comments or views then its important to know that before recruitment. In Banking an emploer need to know the firm can count on its personnal

  16. I think HR may have their priorities wrong if they feel they have to start looking at social networking sites to gauge the pool of prospective employees. HR should get the basics right first. Too often I read that companies cannot seem top find the right “talent”. If the right search parameters are used then the “talented” will be found.

    For instance, I achieved a 2:1 in Physics. On graduating, all the job specs for the banks and consultancies focussed on was whether you received a 2:1 or above and stated any degree discipline accepted (Plus every grade since GCSE). This meant I was being compared equally to others of a lesser degree subject, when Physics is one the most difficult degrees with many more hours of work than other subjects.

    HR could be more rigorous, rather than let numbers/grades do all the talking. Non-academics can run a business just as well if given the chance! Take the most prominent entrpreneurs as an example.

    If a CV is not enough these days, then why doesn’t HR come up with a more creative/formal ways to judge character outside of the work place without snooping into private lives/friendships. HR should be proactive/creative not nosey/sneaky.

  17. At the end of the day, it is nothing less than a sort of paparazzi effect. It is your private life but others have the possibility to watch… There are always limitation to one’s freedom when everything is public. Realistically, even though it is very distasteful to reckon it, we have to be careful of what is in the public domain and to control the image you convey. Sort of speak it is a good training for all those who wish to be famous…
    and think of the likes of Paris Hilton who experiences these issues every day :)

  18. what does it take to become a recruiter? what qualification do they need? and how about a career in HR?

  19. A different view on this…I was interviewing recently and in a moment of boredom looked up my interviewer on Facebook (she has quite a distinctive name). She had a Facebook profile but no friends listed. This made me think a couple of things straight away:

    1. must be spying – no mates, come on?
    2. another candidate is on my list of friends (we had kept that quiet too)
    3. if I am in a client facing role would I be judged on the size of my network/number of friends I have?

    Paranoid or reasonable?!!!

  20. A different view on this…I was interviewing recently and in a moment of boredom looked up my interviewer on Facebook (she has quite a distinctive name). She had a Facebook profile but no friends listed. This made me think a couple of things straight away:
    1. must be spying – no mates, come on?
    2. another candidate is on my list of friends (we had kept that quiet too)
    3. if I am in a client facing role would I be judged on the size of my network/number of friends I have?

    Paranoid or reasonable?!!!

  21. C, Trading – speaking of intellect, before bringing someone’s IQ and their inability to work in a front office role into an argument, you may want to consider a couple of points: firstly, they may not want to work in a front office role and are happy with their career; secondly, you should maybe learn to construct sentences and spell correctly before making that argument in the first place!

    Personnal – Personnel? Ggoingg – going? For a trader, and so-called smart-ar$e, you come across as an arrogant idiot and give the rest of us a bad name…

  22. It is naive to think freedom of expression will be on a recruiter’s mind when they have to sort through the piles of CVs to find a candidate they are ready to put forward to an client.

    The situation is likely that if they find a candidate’s profile on Facebook that gives them the idea that they will not be suitable then you aren’t going to be in the running.

    No matter how “interesting” you think you are, putting up photos of your more controversial activities isn’t going to win anyone over, much less the client.

  23. Facebook or social networking can’t depict the true colors of a person.The is time for everything,time for fun and time for seriousness(at work place).An employer who would use this criteria might miss a lifetime chance of getting a very talented employee who loves fun so much but get down to work when time requires.Such employers should go back to business school to rethink and redo whatever they learnt.NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER!!!!

  24. A different view on this…I was interviewing recently and in a moment of boredom looked up my interviewer on Facebook (she has quite a distinctive name). She had a Facebook profile but no friends listed. This made me think a couple of things straight away:

    1. must be spying – no mates, come on?
    2. another candidate is on my list of friends (we had kept that quiet too)
    3. if I am in a client facing role would I be judged on the size of my network/number of friends I have?

    Paranoid or reasonable?!!!

  25. Regarding facebook… Other people cannot see your photos unless you add them to your friends. So why the fuss? Simply don’t add anyone if you have something you’d rather they didn’t see. I’ve had many work contacts try to connect with me on facebook, I simply ignore their requests. Facebook is for your social life and is nothing to do with work. Linkedin is the network I use for building business contacts: since it’s designed for this purpose.

  26. Typical HR hijacking a good thing and walkign al over it. Its funny how when you deal with a CEO or direct manager things get donme so much easier and quicker which benefits all parties. but when you get HR involved they feel the need to have a go and try and get their stamp on the situation whether it be good or bad for no reason, its pathetic. How someone is in the office and out is their business. You are paid to do a job, not to live a life that HR say is suitable. Would HR get away with htis if you practised a different religion or are homosexual etc. I do not thinks so, and it is practically the same principle. How many people think that HR in the recruitment sense do a good job?

    Matt Demtrio Johe Reply
     

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