Is Facebook killing your career? A new survey by finance and accounting recruiter Robert Half has found that up to 71 per cent of managers in Hong Kong take a peek at job applicants' online profiles to help them decide who to hire.
Hong Kong managers are more likely to check profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn, compared with those in Singapore (50 per cent) and Australia (36 per cent).
This was because the city was more obsessed with reputation, said Andrew Morris, Greater China managing director for Robert Half.
"Stature and image is very important in Hong Kong," he said. "People play a big bearing from a social aspect of standing and status, so those sorts of things when they are being hired are very important."
Morris said the trend for checking online profiles was growing as sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn become more popular.
"People have their game face on during the interview process so part of the [hiring] technique is to have as much background information as possible before you hire them," Morris said.
"What [managers] are trying to do is find out what types of things someone will put up there, what they would disclose about themselves that their potential employer does not know."
His advice to jobseekers was to keep two Facebook accounts - one for work and one for play.
"It's important to manage your online reputation and be aware of the image you project. You never know who might be reviewing your profile," he said.
"If you're putting something out there in the public domain and it's searchable, then you've got to be happy and satisfied that it's information that you want out there. If not, put privacy settings on."
More than 1,600 professionals in the human resources, finance and accounting industries were included in the survey, including 410 professionals in Hong Kong.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR PROFILE
Profile picture: include one because it adds legitimacy to your page, but keep it professional.
Respect the wall: self-censor your posts. Otherwise, use e-mail or private messaging.
Take "no" for an answer: if someone does not accept your friend request, don't ask again.
Keep it focused: don't post trivial updates. Do your friends need to know when you've added a sheep to FarmVille?
Avoid venting: this is not the place for negative comments or office gossip. Chances are someone who shouldn't see it, will.