Inappropriate pictures on your Facebook profile really could lose you a job.

Facebook profile really could lose you a job, researchers have found.

In one of the biggest ever studies of the importance of Facebook profiles among job hunters, scientists found that employees increasingly use the social networking site to weed out unsuitable candidates.

‘While employers are using Facebook to monitor their employees, they have also begun to use it as a screening tool when considering potential candidates,’ said Vanessa de la Llama of the Florida International University in North Miami, who led the research.

However, the lack of guidelines means many firms simply follow their own judgement of just how bad your Facebook profile pictures are.

‘Because this is a fairly new trend, a standardized set of guidelines has yet to be established, with employers often assessing job applicants in a subjective manner.’

The team interviewed representatives from the areas of information technology, healthcare & wellness, education, law enforcement, food & drink, travel, advertising and suggest that their findings shed light on a growing trend.

Facebook threatens to sue employers who demand passwords in job interviews – users ‘should never have to share’ information’

The researchers said they hope to raise the ethical questions for debate surrounding whether or not employers should be using Facebook and other social networks to screen candidates.

‘The question of whether employers are providing job candidates with equal opportunities if they are assessing online “image” prior to interviewing candidates must be raised,’ they wrote.

‘Of course, it is possible that one’s Facebook activity is a perfectly acceptable window on to one’s personality.’

Two U.S senators are calling for an investigation into the practice of asking for Facebook passwords in job interviews so that interviewers can ‘look through’ accounts for information that might be concealed from the public.

The practice, which has horrified privacy campaigners, could be against Federal law.

Facebook itself has already said that the practice – which has been documented at several American organisations – is a violation of its terms of use and could potentially lead to legal action.

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