The news has been abuzz over the past week over the issue of Facebook snooping by employers. 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. I argued in Professional Manager earlier this year that trust is one of the key reasons for allowing employees to access social media at work. As CIPD argue, if you don’t have trust in your professional relationships then you will never realise the potential of your team.
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.