There’s some things you want to keep to yourself. Generation Y have other ideas. Easily bored, technically savvy and info obsessed – I should know – I am one of them.

The world over, users are now clocking up over 700 billion Facebook minutes every month so it’s no wonder businesses are turning to social media to assist with background checks on new recruits. If we consider how many of us have some sort of profile within social media it begs the question. Are we safe when it comes to the information we share online and how readily accessible it is for recruiters, potential employers and the like? Does it occur to us that by keeping very little to ourselves on our Facebook page, or Tweeting about the weekends antics, it’s possible that an employer may not like what they see?

Do you know how many profiles come up when you search for Nicola Smith? A lot – hundreds in fact. Despite being hard to find, I still don’t want every man and his dog in my cyber space knowing what I do after hours so I’m selective about what and who goes on there.

Research done last year showed that 40% of people complain about their company or their boss on Facebook. There was one famous example where a user invited their boss to connect on Facebook, then posted something on the unsavoury side and was subsequently fired! Who was right and wrong? In my opinion, more fool her. We have to assume the information we choose to display about ourselves online is ultimately in the public domain and therefore have to accept the consequences.

If we apply for jobs through social media does it give companies the green light to form opinions based on information they can research about us through these channels? If so, where is the line drawn?

Is using Facebook as a pre-employment check an invasion of privacy? Is it ethical?

The answer is – I don’t know. But I know that it is accelerating, and that more and more employers are checking what you do on social media as part of their recruitment procedure.

At the same time, the power of information and contact sharing through Linked In, Facebook and Twitter is enormous. The potential that these websites lend us to further our knowledge, make a new contact and land the dream job is huge and is only going to become greater. With this in mind it’s important we invest time in order to benefit from these channels.

It’s important to keep in mind that complaining about some one or something is never attractive, least not in a public forum. Similarly photos of good nights out gone bad aren’t going to do you any favours either.

My advice? Think twice before you post.

*If you would like a copy of Poolia’s HR Survey or help with any HR recruitment issue please contact Nicola directly at [email protected]