QUESTION: Do you think it's fair for potential employers to look at Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or other social media accounts when screening applicants? Where is the line drawn between private and public information on social media sites?

QUESTION: Do you think it's fair for potential employers to look at Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or other social media accounts when screening applicants? Where is the line drawn between private and public information on social media sites?

Why do employers need access to social media?

If a person has a social media account, I think that potential employers only have the right to the account as is allowed by the settings the individual has set.

Asking for passwords and the right to login to a personal account is a privacy issue. I value my privacy so therefore I would deny any potential employer access from any social media account.

The employers are already running credit checks and background checks. What more do they really need?

Employers do not need to know every aspect of a potential employees life.

What they need to know: Is the individual qualified to do the job? Is the individual trustworthy? Does the individual have references? Accessing social media accounts, tells me that the employer needs to learn interviewing skills.

Nancy Steward

Linn Creek

Safeguard your private information

It is very simple, if you don't want the world to know how you act, think and feel about life situations, then don't put it on social media sites. One article I looked at stated that 76% of companies use social media sites before hiring. An employment attorney listed questions they can't be ask of a potential employee such as, religious affiliations, sex or marital status, physical or mental disabilities, private organizations which belong to and nationality among other issues. The attorney went on to list some OK questions and some not OK questions, such as: Not OK to ask if ever been arrested but OK to ask if ever been convicted of a crime.

As a private citizen, I can research BBB regarding businesses I might want to deal with. If the business is on Facebook then I can go look at comments on their site. I can go onto the Camden County Sheriff's website and check out the sex offender registry. I can just Google or Bing any person or business and find out all kinds of information. Am I violating some law if I decide not to use a person or business due to what I read on social media sites or what is available on the Internet? Don't get me wrong, I don't take everything at face value because, believe it or not, some people stretch the truth.

But if I or an employer doesn't due their diligence upfront, then the cost down the line can be tremendous. Bottom line is keep private information off the social media sites because everyone is going to look.

If I was looking to fill a position Eric [Dundon, editorial content manager of the Lake Sun] was applying for, prior to our interview I'd do a little research. I'd find that he's made a couple trips to China, one to cover tennis and one regarding music. Graduated University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism in Convergence Journalism in 2011. He held several positions while attending college and all appear to help him gain knowledge in his field. May or may not lean towards a Democratic affiliation based on FB likes. From St. Louis and is a Cardinal fan. From a 12/9/09 post felt he learned that as a project manager that sometimes being a little harsh will get results. Not a SuperBowl fan but likes the commercials, although he doesn't feel they will sway consumers away from their brand loyalty. That information took about 15-20 minutes to search through and for a little money I could have received much more information.

Social Media is here to stay, its growing every day and we need to learn how to use it to our advantage.

Brad Mitchell

Sunrise Beach

Social media checking is imperative

Fair? I think it is imperative. My employer currently uses a sentiment analysis system to monitor all of the social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Blogs, etc.) to maintain a heartbeat of how the public feels about their products. If I enter bad or derogatory information on a public social media site I assume this would likely get me fired (in fact, we sign legal documents that say exactly that). So, for a new employer to access your social media sites is rapidly becoming a default step in the hiring process. If you post, on a public site, there should be no expectation of privacy (in my opinion). As whatever you post can be reposted by your ‘friends’ or ‘connections’ and can rapidly spread throughout the Town? State? Country? World? And if I, as an employer find that you typically post negative information about your previous employer I would definitely consider that a negative and irresponsible character trait and would drop you from a candidate list.

Privacy in today’s world has rapidly become an abused/grey term. People expect privacy when operating a car (Retired State patrolman in Springfield fighting the red light cameras), they want privacy on social media sites (which, by their very nature are anything but private). What is important for people to understand, especially, in the age of electronic eavesdropping by their employer, their government (DOJ raiding Journalists emails and tapping phones without proper warrants, the FBI demanding personal search history data from Google) that anything you put ‘online’ is your responsibility and subject to scrutiny by any number of organizations (whether they are your ‘friends’ or ‘connections’ or not). You own it. And if you write derogatory statements you are likely to be held accountable for it somewhere down the road.

Again, in my opinion, “privacy” is now pretty much limited to inside your home, with your curtains drawn. And even that may become suspect unless we, as a whole, reign in our government.

Scott Hagan

Lake Ozark

You can’t complain if you put it out there

I think its fair for them to look at these sites they are trying to find people that meet up to there standards.

I realize there are certain things that potential employers cannot ask, that may be seen as discriminatory. Then there are also some jobs that require a full background check.

The way I see it if you are going to put your entire life on line then you have no right to complain when someone looks at it.

If you don't want it known then don't put it out there. I may come as a surprise to some but there still primitive ways out there to stay in touch with people like pen and paper, telephones, and heaven forbid actual face to face conversation.

Mike Donovan


‘Public persona’ can help make decisions

It is absolutely appropriate for an employer to look at a potential employee’s social media. Social media by its nature is in the public arena and an employer can use this “public persona” to help make a decision to hire someone that will be a representative of their business. For the employee, many social media channels have permissions that can be set to limit the amount of public access to their profile or activity. I do think it is inappropriate for an employer to ask for access to a privacy protected profile and the potential employee should refuse to provide this access. However, if the social media being used is “public” then it is a tool that an employer can use to make their hiring decision.

Mike Waggett

Lake Ozark

Info should be sought straight from the sources

Potential employers should obtain their information about an employee directly from the employee him/herself or from a referral. Seeking information from social media is tantamount to invasion of privacy. It should not be involved in the employment process. The line is clear. Social media has no role to play.

Hal Anway

Lake Ozark

No real way to verify author of posts

There are at least two sides to this question. There are no real safeguards to protect something posted on any of these social networks. The first order of protection is "Don't post any thing you wouldn't want a prospective or current employer to read.”

Since there is no easy way to verify things posted to a site by other than the person in question, those items should be ignored. Of course this relies on the person reviewing the information to separate the wheat from the chaff which in most cases will be asking a lot.

Francis Carr

Sunrise Beach

Only high-profile jobs should be under scrutiny

Some folks think that I am off my rocker or that I am not keeping up with the social norms. Falling in line with everybody else can lead to a society which is devoid of free thinkers, creativity, or where everything we say or write is up for grabs to the highest bidder. I do not have Facebook or other social media accounts because I do not want my business exploited by anyone for any reason.

Should employers look at social media before hiring someone? I understand that many high profile companies check an applicants social media activity. Most employers are routinely performing a drug screening as a part of their medical physical during the job application process. This is a wonderful world we live in, where we have to prove that we are not drug users to get a job, and all of our social content is being scrutinized!

I am not a naive person. There are pedophiles out there who use chat rooms and social media to entice girls and boys to meet them. People with dirty minds will make something dangerous out of something intended to be good. Our law enforcement has caught on to them and has begun to use the internet against them.

Putting aside my prejudice against this, I think that the only prospective employees that should be subjected to social media searches would be those applying for high management positions or for positions that require high security clearance such as a law enforcement officer. In my opinion, the minimum wage and seasonal applicants should not not be subject to this. Lest yea forget, "Big Brother is Watching You"!

James Hall