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HR admits to spying on potential recruits online


HR professionals have admitted to searching online profiles of potential applicants for further information on them during the recruitment process, a new study has found.

In a survey of almost 1,000 HR practitioners and business managers by people search website, it was found that one-third admit to searching social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace to gain a deeper insight into potential employees. Typically, they are looking for photos, comments and status updates – anything that can give them more information than a CV or interview could.

As a result of these searches, 24% of HR and business managers admitted that the information found was enough to change their mind about employing that person, with 47% being put off by drunken photos, and 22% by rude comments.

Steffen Ruehl, CEO and co-founder of, said that these findings serve as a stark warning to candidates to thoroughly monitor online profiles.

“From a recruiter’s perspective, they are given a true insight into a person’s behaviour – scraping away the standard C.V. and interview etiquette and revealing what that person really likes to do in their spare time,” he added.

Lisette Howlett, founder of recruitment scoring website, said searching for potential recruits online can be extremely beneficial, but HR must deal with the findings intelligently.

“Recruiters should appreciate that a social networking site is just that, ‘social’, and therefore language and attitudes are inevitably more relaxed. On the other hand, job seekers should be aware of what recruiters have access to and whether this sends out the right impression of them.”

See also: Online social networking: The productivity paradox

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