Would you find it fair if the hiring department of the company you applied for based their decision to hire or not to hire you on the content you have on your personal Facebook profile? Most people would be in uproar about a situation like this if they found out it cost them the opportunity to receive a job. So the question stands, is it the responsibility of the candidates to spruce up their social media sites for the purpose of getting the job or is it up to the businesses to respect a candidate’s right to privacy?
Most people believe that the use of social media platforms are a positive thing for businesses to use, but in reality they can create an unrealistic representation of the candidate applying for the position. It’s like judging a book by its cover. Yes there are times when the cover of the book is parallel to the quality of the written work, but what about those books you’ve loved with a mediocre cover. A candidates profile picture and relationship status should not interfere with their capability to work for a company. Can someone’s work ethic truly be determined by the content they “like” on Facebook? When you judge someone solely on the content they have online, you miss the opportunely to truly find out if he or she is the perfect employee for the position.
Since it should be the businesses responsibility to respect a candidate’s privacy, businesses should take precautions to using social media for hiring new employees. If companies are adamant about using social networking platform for hiring purposes companies should be prepared to face potential charges of discrimination. To prevent unlawful discrimination Robert McHale suggests businesses seek outside help, a person not involved in the hiring process, to review the candidates’ social media sites. Providing this outside help with a policy for reviewing and reporting back to the company will ensure the company’s protection against messy lawsuits. This way the company will not be aware of race, religion, relationship status, sexual orientation and other personal details that could lead a company to violating discrimination policies. The outside help would only collect and report information about the candidate that could lawfully allow them to reject the candidate.
Official policies for using social media platforms for hiring purposes have not been established, but it is wise for companies to take on the responsibility for respecting personal information. With the rise of social media use today, using Facebook and other social networking accounts to investigate a candidate should not be eliminated completely, but used in an ethical manner.
“While rules exist to prevent employers from asking questions about belief systems or disabilities of their prospective employees, these rules fail to prevent the same information from being divulged through Internet searches.” Does this seem ethical to you?
“Recruiting and Hiring Advice” By John Rossheim
“The Ethics of Pre-Employment Screening Through the Use of the Internet” By Michael Jones, Adam Schuckman, Kelly Watson
“Using Facebook To Screen Potential Hires Can Get You Sued” By Robert McHale