Yet another benefit of social media networks has been added to its usefulness list: checking on people before hiring them.
Employers check on several things related to the personal life or views of potential employees that could "place the business or companies at risk", human resources experts said.
For example, "alcohol abuse and sexual behaviour which could put a firm at risk or harm its reputation or any other evidence of a personality or characteristic which could harm the business in question," are among the things an employer would check on, Metin Mitchell, managing partner at Metin Mitchell and Co in Dubai.
Multi-national or multi-cultural companies could also look for "extremists' views" or racist opinions that might be expressed on social media networks and could put the business at risk because of such views, Mitchell told Gulf News.
Two out of five (nearly 40 per cent) technology companies check out potential employees' profiles on social media sites such Facebook or LinkedIn, according to a survey by Eurocom Worldwide, the Global PR Network.
The survey was conducted by Eurocom Worldwide and its member agencies around the world and was conducted during January and February this year. Hundreds of senior level executives from technology companies took part in the survey.
"This is another reminder that very personal photos or information posted on social media websites may seem a good idea at first, but it could affect future career prospects for the person," commented Mads Christensen, network director, Eurocom Worldwide.
"Our survey showed that 37 per cent of tech firms examine social media profiles to determine potential employees' suitability for the job," Christensen was quoted as saying in a statement.
In the "new trend" of technology, the privacy sphere of personal information is becoming thinner, and it becomes more difficult to differentiate personal and business information, specialists in the field said.
Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs have made the process of getting information easier, said Nidal Abu Zaki, managing director of Orient Planet, a PR company that represents Eurocom in the Middle East.
"It also shows whether the person [job seeker] was giving the correct information," Abu Zaki told Gulf News.
Checking on people on the internet is "legitimate" stressed Mitchell.
"I would look at all means possible… for everything on the public domain," he said in reposnse to a question on whether he will search for potential seniors.
Mitchell added that people have the right to see any information posted on the public domain, including social media websites.
Asked if many companies in the Middle East are resorting to the social media to check on potential candidates, Mitchell said, "It is going to happen very quickly, and if they don't, they should absolutely be doing that."
"It is very easy to harm business with somebody who has an undesired behaviour."
Already there are cases where legal action has been taken against some employees for posting information on their social media pages which are considered either harmful for their colleagues or the company.
While social media is making tremendous leaps and its social role is considerably growing, Eurocom Worldwide found out that nearly half of the technology companies don't have their own pages on social media sites.
Many are now planning to increase their spending for a larger presence on social media sites in the next year.
Half (51 per cent) of the firms surveyed have a Facebook page, 46 per cent have a corporate Twitter account, 43 per cent are on LinkedIn and just over a third (36 per cent) have a Youtube presence, the report noted.
from / Gulf News