A Jobseekers Point of View

Image from Google

As progressive as social media is, people ought to question if social media screening is acceptable in the work environment. Job Seekers debate whether or not recruiters should screen social media profiles during the recruitment process. I think job seekers make their best arguments when they claim that the use of social media during a recruitment process is  an attack on their privacy and that it leads to discrimination during the hiring process.

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Image from Go-gulf

Job candidates are questioning if using social media to screen candidates is an ethical approach to recruitment; are recruiters taking candidate inquiry too far and invading the privacy of their candidates? Job applicants have no problem with recruiters screening sites like Linkedin—a business networking platform; they do, however, have a problem with the screening of personal accounts like Facebook and Twitter. On social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, people tend to share their photos, opinions, likes and dislikes, they discuss their beliefs and ideas and many people would like to keep that information private. Job seekers expect to disclose that type of information only to their family and friends– and yet one-third of all US employers screen personal social media networks for job applicants’ information early in the recruitment  process and it’s found that 76 percent of the searches done are on Facebook and 53 percent on Twitter. Job candidate’s problem with using sites like Facebook and Twitter is that those sites are meant to be personal and they contain information that a recruiter has no right over. This sort of “snooping” around makes candidates lose faith in the company that’s hiring them. Will Stoughton, a doctoral student in industrial psychology, published a study in the Journal of Business and Psychology, which reported that applicants “feel they have been treated unfairly” when recruiters screen personal social media accounts–especially when they are not informed–  “and are less likely to accept the job offer because they interpret this poor treatment– such as screening via social media– as an indication of how they would be treated on the job”(Jacobson).

Image from Google

Job seekers also make the argument that information found on an applicant’s personal social media accounts can lead to discrimination. Because social media screening is a relatively new application in the recruitment process, many companies do not have clear guidelines or policies on how to screen social media accounts should be evaluated. In CareerBuilder’s 2014 survey found that “51 percent of employers who research job candidates on social media said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire the applicant”(Grasz). What type of content did recruiters find that caused them not to hire some candidates? Well, information about a candidate’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender or disability status is generally what a recruiter would find in candidates social media account.To use this information to reject candidates would be going against “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 the Americans with Disabilities Act and other anti-discrimination laws which prohibits employers from making hiring decisions on the basis of certain protected characteristics, such as an applicant’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender or disability status.”(Jacobson)

Image from The Wall Street Journal

Carnegie Mellon University conducted an experiment in which they created mock resumes and social media profiles to test if companies discriminated when screening candidates. In the experiment, mock Facebook profiles that indicated that a candidate was Muslim received callbacks 2 percent of the time while candidates with mock Facebook profiles that indicated that they were Christians received callbacks 17 percent of the time. The recruiters in this situation obviously got caught up in their biases and poorly evaluated many candidates. Although this was a simulated experiment, these discriminating situations still hold true for many job candidates today.


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