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British workers don’t want to befriend colleagues – at least not on Facebook

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It’s been reported that professionals in the process of recruiting don’t just turn to LinkedIn.

No, they also research – ahem, stalk – unsuspecting candidates on Facebook, Google and Twitter.

And be warned, this practice is particularly common in the tech sector, more so than finance and legal industries.

“The dangers of having inappropriate photos or posts on social media are well-known – whether these impart the wrong impression or cause damage to reputation,” cautioned Ruth Jacobs, MD of recruiter Randstad Technologies.

“As well as taking care of their physical impression, prospective candidates now also have to take care of their online persona. However, having no social media presence is not a solution either.”

With that in mind, it’s unsurprising that some British workers prefer to keep their social media accounts away from the prying eyes of colleagues.

According to research from online reputation management company Igniyte, 35 per cent of employees across the UK would be willing to add some co-workers as Facebook friends – but certainly not managers.

However, the study also highlighted that a seemingly private or distrusting 15 per cent of respondents wouldn’t accept any colleagues as their Facebook pals whatsoever.

The travel, transport and leisure sector, meanwhile, harbours the most reluctant group of workers to welcome business into their personal world – 45 per cent said they wouldn’t accept managers on Facebook.

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Results found that those in the finance sector are the most judgemental of social media discoveries about an interviewee or interviewer, with 20 per cent saying it would impact their judgement on the individual.

Elsewhere, a quarter of people said they would think carefully about posting content online because of the way it could impact their professional image or someone else’s.

Interestingly it was found that marketing and advertising employees put their business minds into practice for personal benefit. Some 36 per cent check their social media accounts before applying for a job to ensure they look the part, while 23 per cent are happy to promote their business on personal accounts.

Presumably once they get the job, the drunken night out pictures will start being posted once more.

The study also showed that property firms run the highest risk of a damaged reputation from staff posting questionable content, as 31 per cent don’t have a social media policy.

Employees working in the Travel, Transport & Leisure sector are most averse to allowing their personal and professional online lives to cross over – with 45% saying they wouldn’t accept managers on Facebook, 16% admitting they’ve read their company’s social media policy but don’t follow it, and only 6% saying they’d be happy to promote their company through their personal social media accounts.

The research follows a number of high-profile cases where employees have posted offensive, defamatory or ill-judged content from their personal social media account – thrusting their employer into the spotlight in the process.

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