Facebook, Myspace sites often checked before hiring
By Anjali Athavaley - The Wall Street Journal
Job interviewees, beware: Your prospective boss may have called your references before you walk through the door - and they may not be the contacts you provided.
Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn Corp. and Jobster Inc. are making it easier for employers to get in touch with people who have worked with job candidates in the past or know them personally. Recruiters say they use such sites - where people create online profiles and then link to professional colleagues who are also members - to find mutual connections they can hit up for information. Many hiring managers say they even check to see if they have mutual connections with a candidate on Facebook and MySpace, the popular social networking sites.
Checking LinkedIn references strikes me as entirely proper, as long as you are sure you have the correct individual. Using search engines, MySpace, and or Facebook strike me as a way to get yourself in trouble. First of all, how do you know it is the same person? Even if you are sure, is the information relevant to the job? Unless you are a lobby shop, an applicant's politics should not matter.
If you want the most qualified individual, you would be well advised to confine yourself to researching the applicant's qualifications for the job.