Bosses peek at Facebookers’ privates

ACCOUNTANTS chasing a new job should beware – your potential new boss may have already checked you out on Facebook.

A new survey by recruitment firm Robert Half has found that more than a third of employers in accounting and finance admit to checking potential candidates’ Facebook profiles before offering them a job.

“Given this reality, candidates need to be aware of their social media ‘footprint’ when applying for jobs,” Robert Half director Andrew Brushfield said, releasing the survey findings today.

“As a general rule of thumb, if there is anything online that employees don’t want their colleagues or bosses to see, they should remove it.”

The survey also found 23 per cent of employers are using social media to recruit, while a third of employees say they are comfortable being “friends” with their boss on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Still, the survey also found 36 per cent of surveyed employees in the finance and accounting industry have seen the use of social networking sites damage other people’s workplace relationships.

“While social media has helped foster a more interactive and sociable working environment, it is completely blurring the boundary between people’s personal and professional lives,” Mr Brushfield said.

“Before people ‘friend’ their bosses, colleagues and clients, they need to think about the long-term implications it could have on their professional life and career development.”

The survey of 416 finance and accounting employees, and hiring managers, found only 38 per cent of companies had a clear social media policy in place for employees.

Forty-three per cent of companies that allow their staff to access social media sites at work either don’t have a clear social media policy in place, or don’t have a policy at all.

“All organisations should have a clear social media policy to ensure that their staff use social media appropriately at work, and don’t damage the company’s corporate reputation,” Mr Brushfield said.

Mr Brushfield offered a number of tips to workers and jobseekers to help manage their Facebook presence, such as “untagging” themselves from an embarrassing photograph, and being aware of the various groups they join if their colleagues, bosses and clients are “friends”.

Also, while Facebookers may enjoy playing social network games and posting their results, Mr Brushfield questions whether professional contacts really want to know if you have bought a new cow on FarmVille.

We all know the answer to that one.

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