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Use of Facebook May Affect Career Prospects

Ref. PR-03128

A new survey shows that 71% of Hong Kong hiring managers check job candidates’ Facebook profiles

Hong Kong, 30 May 2011 – According to the latest Robert Half Workplace Survey, 71% of hiring managers admit they check potential candidates’ Facebook profiles before offering them a job. This is well above the regional average of 50% (Australia 36%; New Zealand 34%; and Singapore 50%). Furthermore, 69% of respondents claim that they have seen the use of social networking sites negatively impact workplace relationships, including 24% indicating they have negatively impacted their own workplace relationships.

“Social Networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn provide great networking tools that connect people, but they can also create tension between employees and managers in the workplace, “ commented Andrew Morris, Managing Director, Greater China, Robert Half. “In today’s digital age, it’s important to manage your online reputation and be aware of the image you project. You never know who might be reviewing your profile.”

“Before using social networking sites to connect with people professionally, employees should review their privacy settings and consider editing their profile to include only information they would be comfortable sharing with their boss, coworkers, clients, colleagues, and potential employers,“ added Mr Morris.

Out of the 410 Hong Kong respondents in the Robert Half Workplace Survey, 44% said they are uncomfortable being connected to their boss on social networking sites. It also seems that bosses are just as reserved about “connecting with” people they manage, with 47% of managers claiming to be uncomfortable with this. There is lesser concern with connecting to colleagues on a similar level – just 36% were uncomfortable with this.

Not surprisingly, professionals are more comfortable “connecting to” their work contacts on professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn. Only 35% of respondents were uncomfortable with being connected to their boss on professional social networking sites compared to 36% of bosses who were uncomfortable with connecting to their staff.

New technology has created new etiquette challenges. While 41% of respondents claim that their firms have a clear social media policy in place to guide employees’ digital conduct, nearly one in four (22%) respondents indicated that their companies have no social media policy in place.

Andrew Morris, Managing Director, Greater China, Robert Half, offers the following tips to help professionals and jobseekers manage their Facebook presence:

Include a profile picture. A picture is worth a thousand words. A personal photo adds legitimacy and confirms that you’re the right “Mary Jones.” The image you choose can be casual, but make sure it’s professional.

Respect the wall. If you wouldn’t want to read it on a billboard, don’t post it to your Facebook wall – or anyone else’s. Remember, anyone you ‘friend’ can see your comments, photos and YouTube video links. Email or use Facebook’s messaging feature instead.

Keep it focused. Resist the temptation to post updates about games, quizzes and groups to which you belong if you use Facebook for business. Do you really want all of your friends knowing every time you add a sheep to FarmVille?

Avoid venting. Don’t make the mistake of posting negative comments or gossiping about your employer, supervisor, colleague, or any other touchy topic. Chances are the wrong set of eyes will stumble upon your remarks.

Take ‘no’ for an answer. When trying to friend someone, once is enough. Keep in mind that some people may not want to connect with you, including your boss or colleagues. Try not to take it personally; people use different criteria for building their online social networks, or they may not be regular Facebook users.

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