...reason to turn down a candidate. Of course, that candidate could have been a model employee in their work life - but the companies in question will now no longer get a chance to find that out.
2. Because you can't keep everything private
Some would argue that people who post photographs and comments on Facebook are making their private lives public, and that they should be aware of how this may affect future employers' opinions of them.
To an extent, people do need to take responsibility for the way they present themselves in the public online sphere. Once employed by a company, they are essentially representing that organisation.
That said, I don't want to completely hide all aspects of my Facebook profile. Yes, I could make myself unsearchable, but I don't want to. I want to be able to connect with people who are not yet my Facebook friends. I certainly don't want to give up my Facebook profile for good just for the chance of employment.
Anyone is able to see my profile picture, where I went to university and who I am friends with on Facebook. I don't think I am being cavalier with the information I am giving out, yet according to the report I could still be judged by recruiters.
The research found that employers make suppositions about a candidate even if all they can see is a profile picture, so to safeguard myself from unfair judgement I would effectively have to make myself invisible online.
Perhaps I have just been on holiday and happen to have a photo of myself in a bikini as my profile picture - does that mean I'm a vain bimbo? No, it means I've just been on holiday.
But that profile picture could stop me being considered for a role I might be perfectly able to fulfil, and that does not make sense for me or for the employer.
3. Employers could miss out too
I can understand that employers want to use every tool available to them to vet potential employees. However, I don't think social network profiles are necessarily an accurate representation of a candidate, and therefore social networks are not the best place to determine a person's suitability for a role.
According to the Acas report, the most common reason for rejecting a candidate after a social network check was lifestyle-based rather than employment-based, which means employers could be dismissing candidates for the wrong reason.
Reject me because you think I can't do the job, not because I appear to have a greater inclination than usual for fancy dress.
It would be na