Social networking gave more access to employers and employees alike, connecting people more easily and faster than ever. Social sites like LinkedIn can provide job seekers with any company’s listings instantly and give employers access to jobseekers quickly.  Although there are obvious negative effects of such transparency, the benefits of using social networking sites as a hiring tool outweigh its risks. Recruiters should continue utilizing the sites, they should also be careful in selecting the criteria they use to review candidates.

The American Journal of Business Education explains that the top three reasons employers reject candidates after online screenings are because they posted “provocative or inappropriate photos or information… content regarding use of drinking or drugs, and because they bad mouthed a previous employer, co-worker, or client” (Vicknair, 2010). Companies can use social networking sites before hiring to avoid candidates with poor work ethic, lack of professionalism, or who engage in illicit activities—details that no applicant would willingly disclose in an interview. Donald Kluemper of Louisiana State University and Peter Rosen of the University of Evansville in Indiana say personal pages on Facebook and similar social networking sites can be used to predict the personality of a job candidate, much like a personality test (HR Magazine, 2010).

Many people searching for jobs fear that recruiters might use social networking sites to invade their privacy or discriminate based on inappropriate criteria. While this is a valid concern, applicants always have the option of keeping their information private; it is the responsibility of the candidate to know the consequences of self-presentation and to employ censorship if necessary. Only if an employer somehow gains access to private information (only accessible to “friends” or a customizable list), would the candidate have a legal claim against the employer for invasion of privacy (Practical Lawyer, Martucci, 2010).

Employers must also be aware that visiting a candidate’s profile could result in finding information that would otherwise be off-limits for employers to inquire about. Basing hiring decisions on attributes such as disability, race, religion, and age could result in unlawful discrimination against the potential employee. To avoid liability, it is crucial that all searches and sites visited be well documented. That said, the value of engaging on social sites is still growing and candidates should keep an updated professional profile on LinkedIn, complete with recommendations, descriptions, keywords, and groups. This is fast becoming a valuable source for recruiters, including ours at Trufflepig Search.

References

 

Martucci, W., Oldvader, J., & Smith, J.. (2010, October). Hiring And Firing In The Facebook Age (With Sample Provisions). Practical Lawyer. Retrieved from Law Module. (Document ID: 2186179701).

Society for Human Resource Management. (2010, February). The other face of Facebook.

HR Magazine. Retrieved from:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3495/is_2_55/ai_n52359315/

Vicknair, J., Elkersh, D., Yancey, K., & Budden, M.. (2010). The use of social networking websites as a recruiting tool for employers. American Journal of Business Education, 3(11), 7-12.  Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2216409391).

 

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