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Employees be warned: ‘Someone’s watching you online’

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Employees using social networking sites, such as Facebook and Bebo, have been told to think twice before posting embarrassing photos or lewd comments online, as research reveals 53% of employers are ‘screening’ their staff.’s survey of more than 450 employers found that social networking sites are becoming increasingly utilised when vetting job applications and monitoring current staff.

Of those who conducted online searches and background checks, 43% use search engines, 12% use Facebook and 12% use contacts site LinkedIn. But, with recent changes to Facebook’s privacy policy meaning all users’ actions appear on Google’s search pages, employers can easily find reasons not to hire.

The main reasons to dismiss candidates based on internet appearance were:

• lies about qualifications – 38%
• poor communication skills – 31%
• discriminatory comments – 13%
• content about them drinking or using drugs – 10%
• provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 9%
• bad-mouthing their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 9%
• sharing confidential information about previous employer – 8%.

But the monitoring is not just limited to recruitment periods. Last year, one 16-year-old girl was sacked from her job as an administrator for making online comments about her boredom, while in 2008, Virgin released 13 employees after they posted insults about customers and poor safety standards.

“Forty-eight per cent of employers monitor employees’ use of email and the Internet,” said Farhan Yasin, President of CareerBuilder. “Twenty-eight per cent of employers reported that they have fired an employee for information found on his/her social networking profile.

“The most common reasons for termination were due to negative posts about the company or another employee, because they shared confidential information or because they represented themselves in an unprofessional manner.”

Those looking for a new career in the future, or trying to keep their existing job, have been told to monitor their online accounts and make sure anything that could be used against them is quickly deleted.


Written by Andrew Hodges

January 24, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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