There has been a lot of advice written for the benefit of the job seeker about the use of social media, particularly when they have put themselves into the job market. What should also be noted is that job seekers also have access to a hiring manager's social media profile as well. We advise job seekers to research the industries and, more specifically, the companies in which they are interested. This proactive behaviour is a no brainer, and job seekers have been – and can be – unsuccessful if they don't do their homework. Part of this research, prior to attending an interview, is to also research the hiring manager(s) who will be conducting the interview. Usually this is via the 'About Us' page on the company's website or, more commonly, the hiring manager's LinkedIn profile.
Nothing unusual so far. Hiring managers also need to be aware that job seekers also have access to these same hiring manager's other social media profiles, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Recently, we had a candidate who participated in an interview with a hiring manager for over an hour. She really enjoyed the interview, and the role was exactly what she had been looking for. Given the length of the interview and the feedback we received from the hiring manager, the candidate was very highly regarded by the hiring manager too, until... As the interview was coming to a close, the candidate asked the hiring manager about his working day, and the manager mentioned that a usual day was about twelve hours.
This didn't deter the candidate, as there was an important project in the process of being completed, and she understood the deadlines involved.
The candidate then asked how the manager coped with these hours with a young family, as she had, as part of her research on the company and the manager, also looked at his (public) Facebook page. The manager's feedback to people2people was that even though the candidate was terrific, he was shocked she had looked at his Facebook profile and considered this to be some type of 'stalking' and wouldn't consider her application any further. If you Google someone's name (including your own!), the most common results are the relevant LinkedIn and Facebook profiles.
So if you do not want anyone accessing your social media profiles, which you consider to be private, do not have your profile set to public. You cannot claim someone is invading your privacy if all they are doing is undertaking their research to prepare for their interview with you and your information is readily accessible by anyone on social media. A candidate's proactivity and initiative should never be penalised or discouraged, particularly if the information is publicly available.