Following recent research by recruitment giant Hays which warned against injudicious public postings on social media, an HR director has told Recruiter Magazine that social media monitoring ought not to play a part in recruitment.

Stella Cheetham of the charity Dimension, which supports people with learning difficulties and autism, agrees that the personal values of employees are crucial and must not conflict with the charity’s commitment to supporting vulnerable people and helping them have choice in their lives. But Dimension does not review candidates’ social media usage and “has no plans to do so.”

She said:

“We use other ways to identify people’s values and how they apply in a work context, including situational judgement questionnaires based on the behaviours of our top-performing support staff. We also draw on the judgement of the people we support throughout the selection process, inviting them to interview potential employees.”

This approach, Ms Cheetham argues, identifies the crucial issues without the need for trawling back through Twitter and Facebook accounts.

She believes that younger candidates especially may be discriminated against if hirers use social media monitoring as a recruitment tool. Over-50s tend to use social media less, which doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have questionable attitudes. It just that means they haven’t left a digital trail of negative information behind them.

Younger candidates, however, have a stronger social media presence and often reveal personal data such as marital status, age and whether they have children – information, she believes, which should not play a part in recruitment.

Younger jobseekers and Umbrella Employees looking for new assignments may well agree. But being cautious about what gets posted remains a good policy.

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