London - In one of the biggest ever studies of the importance of Facebook profiles among job hunters, American scientists found that employers increasingly use the social networking site to weed out unsuitable candidates.

“While employers are using Facebook to monitor their employees, they have also begun to use it as a screening tool when considering potential candidates,” said Vanessa de la Llama of the Florida International University in North Miami, who led the research.

However, the lack of guidelines means many firms simply follow their own judgement of just how bad your Facebook profile pictures are.

“Because this is a fairly new trend, a standardised set of guidelines has yet to be established, with employers often assessing job applicants in a subjective manner.”

The team interviewed representatives in careers ranging from IT to advertising and suggest that their findings shed light on the growing trend of using Facebook and other social networks to screen candidates.

“The question of whether employers are providing job candidates with equal opportunities if they are assessing online ‘image’ prior to interviewing candidates must be raised,” they wrote.

 

Two US senators are calling for an investigation into the practice of asking for Facebook passwords in job interviews so that interviewers can look through accounts for information that might be concealed from the public – a trend that has horrified privacy campaigners.

Facebook has said that the practice is a violation of its terms of use and could potentially lead to legal action. – Daily Mail