Why employees' Facebook profiles are none of your business

27 March 2012 -


di Gaskell on why companies that ask for job candidates' Facebook logins are so very wrong

The issue of Facebook snooping by employers is a recurring theme in the news. It seems that some of them have been requesting login details of job candidates so that they can check out their Facebook pages prior to offering them the job.

Research has revealed that a quick glance at someones Facebook profile is a better indicator of future job suitability than more traditional personality tests, so it has clearly been a temptation too big to resist for some employers.

The gentleman involved in the case when the story broke rightly told his interviewers where they can stick their job. Facebook meanwhile have responded by saying they will take legal action if they hear of any employers asking for their users login details.

How did this madness emerge? I’m trying to think of just how the conversation went where HR managers thought that doing this was in any way right.

It’s well known that companies have an uneasy relationship with social media, although research suggests that many are now finally freeing employees to use it, and many companies will gladly spend time and money monitoring what staff do on social media to ensure they don’t say or do the wrong thing.

Obviously if employees set their accounts to private however even this form of snooping is out of bounds. Just as social media has provided an easy and relatively guilt free way for couples to snoop on each other however, it seems some employers just have to scratch that itch

If you start the employer/employee relationship on such a footing however it is surely only downhill from there. As CIPD has argued, if you don’t have trust in your professional relationships then you will never realise the potential of your team. And trust is one of the key reasons for allowing employees to access social media at work.

So even if you overlook the clear legal implications of snooping on your employees, for the sake of workplace morale, please, please, please ignore that temptation - and trust your employees to be great.

Adi Gaskell is a social media expert and freelance blogger 

Image of Facebook icons courtesy of JaysonPhotography / Shutterstock

Powered by Professional Manager