candidate social media profiles

Do you check the social media profiles of candidates? It is becoming more and more common for companies to carry out research on candidates, and use information readily available on the internet to build up a picture of the applicant.

One organisation actually says the following on their application form:

“Note: We will be viewing your networking pages or web pages in conjunction with your application.

If your profile is set to private, please accept our friend request.”


This is something we haven’t heard of before – if information is readily and publicly available on the internet, organisations are within their rights to have a look (as is anyone else!). Making decisions based on what they see is another matter, but as a company the basic premise usually is, the more information they have, the better!

But, trying to “befriend” an applicant and actively asking to see what is happening in their social and private life is taking this to another level, and something we haven’t heard of before. It brings up a lot of questions – and no doubt people will have very opposing views.

What do you think about this? Is this acceptable and would it be useful to know this extra information about the candidate? Or is it too aggressive, and an invasion of the candidate’s privacy and personal life?

At first glance the candidate would be within their rights to refuse the friend request and not be discriminated against for doing so. The second observation is why does the company want to know what goes on in candidate’s private life? How much value is there in knowing this? Follow that on – is this a developing trend whereby companies want to know absolutely everything about candidates when making recruitment decisions? Traditionally there has been a strong separation between work and social (in most cases). Is this set to change? Would you want to know more?

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