David Emin is director of advertising at Mirror
David Emin is director of advertising at Mirror
A view from David Emin

Don't count on privacy on Facebook

Q I recently went for a job interview at a rival media agency for a role I would really like. From the job description, it appears I am the ideal candidate, as I have all the experience they require and more. The agency seemed really keen to get me in for an interview, but once I was there they went a little cold on me. My interviewers started asking a few questions about my private...

At first, I thought they had hired someone to investigate me, but then I realised they had been on my Facebook page. I think this is outrageous because Facebook is about my private life and has nothing to do with them. Are they allowed to dig up information on me from a social networking site and if I don't get the job will I be able to sue them on the grounds they acted inappropriately?

A The first time my wife mentioned the phrase "social networking tool" I thought this was a reference to my drunken behaviour at a function we had attended at the weekend, where I had been "working the room".

And when Facebook first appeared, many employers thought of it as a potential workplace problem, with employees spending a disproportionate amount of time poking their friends during work time rather than doing actual work.

However, it wasn't long before HR departments realised Facebook was an ideal way to get background information on existing or potential staff. This ranged from rumbling employees who were off on sick leave but posting on their site that they had been out for the day, and so were not sick at all, to putting together a profile on potential employees before committing to offering them a job.

Unfortunately for you, browsing profiles on Facebook is not illegal. If you choose to post something on a social networking site and haven't used the correct privacy settings, then don't be surprised if the interviewer knows that you got completely wasted at the weekend, stripped off and danced naked on a table, copped off with a complete stranger and were subsequently late for work on Monday morning.

Even if you do use the privacy settings, don't forget that your friends know more people than just those mentioned on your own friends list - and that it's easy for private information to become common knowledge.

So don't post the fact that you have an interview coming up on your Facebook wall, or indeed anything else that you might not want to become public.