When Booster Juice franchisee John Shoust set out to hire summer employees, the Craigslist posting contained an unusual request. It asked applicants for a link to their public Facebook profile.

Mr. Shoust owns the Booster Juice outlet in Toronto’s Liberty Village. He said the employees he hires to fill summer staffing needs are usually in their late teens or early 20s and don’t have developed resumés.

“The only way they can communicate about who they are is to either show up, or give us a hint about who they are, and that’s some of what the Facebook page is doing,” he said.

Certain U.S. companies caused controversy recently by asking potential hires for the passwords to their social media accounts. This practice is illegal in Canada but there is no law against asking for information that is available by doing a Google search.

“If the person or applicant is showing the world, this is who I am, I don’t know why an employer couldn’t ask for access for that,” said Toronto-based labour lawyer Paul Cavalluzzo. He said privacy and labour laws haven’t kept pace with changing technology involved in recruitment.

Chris Hollister founded Toronto-based Hirebench, creator of the job postings used by Booster Juice.

He said his firm often doesn’t even check the Facebook profiles, and simply requests them to see if  people are paying attention to the job they’ve applied for. Jobs posted on Craigslist often result in hundreds of applicants.

He cited applicants who emailed and said they didn’t have Facebook accounts, but still ended up getting interviewed.

“This is becoming more and more the trend,” Hollister said. “It’s not even necessarily about checking out Facebook profiles, but a better way of seeing if people are engaged and paying attention (to the job posting).”

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