The Employer versus the Job Seeker

Is it wrong for companies to use social media as determining factor when screening job candidates? Are job seekers wrong for not wanting screenings of their social media accounts during the recruitment process?

One group, the job seekers, argue that employers should not have the right to evaluate candidate’s social media accounts when choosing workers. In a Eurocom Worldwide survey, it was found that one in five technology industry executives have opted to not hire a candidate because of their social media profile. It’s understandable then when job seekers do not want their social media accounts screened because it seems that it can negatively impact their chances at employment even if they have outstanding credentials.

Job seekers, like most people, prefer to keep their professional, and personal lives separate. The University of Dayton, Antioch College, Sinclair Community College, and Wittenberg University(Lory) surveyed 2,000 students and revealed “many students tended to draw sharp lines between their personal lives and their professional faces”(Lory). So, is it even reasonable for an employer to look at a candidate’s social media profiles, when there’s already an established methodology to evaluate candidates? Why do employers feel the need to invade a candidate’s personal accounts when they can examine your resumes, your past jobs, and your professional accounts( e.g., LinkedIn). They also interview you and your previous employers.

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Image from Google

In theory, all companies should care about is the candidate’s professional abilities for the job. If a job recruiter can not make up their mind about the candidate through the long processes of face to face interaction and credentials involved with job applications then what more could they possibly know through social media accounts? So when job recruiters do use Facebook to screen candidates, they essentially are doing nothing but invading the applicant’s privacy.

Another reason as to why recruiters should not use social media accounts for job recruitment is because it’s changing the way we interact with social media. Social media started out as a platform for people to connect with others on larger cyber field. However, with the job market using social media as tool to pick and choose candidates, it has become less of “social profile” and more of a “career profile”. The Internet; the very medium that presents us with copious amounts of information, allows for global communication and enables us to express ourselves is now causing us to restrict ourselves more—now we have to privatize our Facebook pages and speak in neutral, politically correct terms because our long-term career success depends upon it.

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Image from Google

On the other hand, the job recruiters, find examining social media an additional tool when surveying their candidates. Social media accounts are helpful to job recruiters  because they, “identify an applicant’s professional qualifications, communication skills, and well-roundedness and determine an applicant’s potential organizational “fit””(U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Job recruiters argue that Internet profiles like Facebook can show the impartial personality and behavior of the candidates. In some cases, candidates will give out false information or lie about their personality on their resumes or in interviews. So to check the authenticity of the job seekers, recruiters feel that it is appropriate to check Facebook and other social networking accounts to see if candidates are honest.

There is also nothing lawfully wrong with employers searching on Facebook,“ as long as you’re treating all applicants equally”(Lory) said Darren Kaltved an associate director at Career Center for Science and Engineering (CCSE) at UM. Although there is very little legislation placed for the use of  the internet profiles when screening candidates, employers should heed to NACE principles— “recruiting, interviewing, and hiring individuals outside of  race, color, national origin, religion and so on”(Naceweb).

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