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Job applicants react negatively to screening of social media accounts

RALEIGH, N.C., Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Companies screening social media accounts of job applicants alienate potential employees and make it harder to attract top job candidates, U.S. researchers say.

"The recruiting and selection process is your first indication of how you'll be treated by a prospective employer," Will Stoughton of North Carolina State University said. "If elite job prospects feel their privacy has been compromised, it puts the hiring company at a competitive disadvantage."

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In an N.C. State study, 175 participants who had applied for a job online were told that their Facebook accounts had been reviewed for "professionalism," and that a decision on whether they'd been hired was forthcoming.

Of the 175 participants, two-thirds said the found the prospective employer less attractive because they felt the Facebook screening was an invasion of privacy that reflected poorly on the company, the university reported Monday.

"This research tells us that companies need to carefully weigh whatever advantage they believe they get from social media screening against the increased likelihood of alienating potential employees," study co-author and psychology Professor Lori Foster Thompson said. "Elite job prospects have options, and are more likely to steer clear of potential employers they don't trust."

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