10 Apr 2019

Recruitment X Social Media Stalking

Gavin Beale

How does a hirer know if a candidate is the sort of person they want to employ?

Does an interview process really help you get to know both the skill-set and personality traits required to do the job well, whilst in-keeping with the cultural fit?

It’s almost impossible to feel 100% confident that you’ve made the right hire, until the dust settles and your new employee has spent some time performing their new role.

Whether you recruit directly or in partnership with your preferred recruitment consultancy, your ability to screen candidates based on the unwritten areas of their life, such as their outspokenness, lifestyle habits or appearance, has changed dramatically in the last decade, with the increase of personal and corporate social media profiles.
We’ve all read horror stories of disgruntled employees taking to their personal Facebook page to air their opinions on their ‘boss from hell’. It rarely ends well.
But what about the times when a company or agency use social media to check up on a candidate? Is it overstepping the mark in terms of privacy, or do we all agree that social media is not sacred; online is public domain?

According to research by Monster.co.uk, 56% of employers admit that online profiles impact their hiring decisions.
On the candidate side, 65% of Brits believe that their job applications suffer as a result of their social media profiles.

Employment lawyers are recommending that whilst not illegal, social media screening by hirers should be extremely cautious not to base decisions on discriminatory factors (age, gender, race, political views and sexual orientation).
That same advice (from ‘Keystone Law’) is said to apply to recruitment consultants:
It makes no different because they (recruitment consultants) stand in the shoes of the employer” said Jacqueline McDermott of Keystone Law.

I’d be interested to see a study on whether candidates use social media to vet their potential employers, specifically the social media presences of the managers and decision makers.

From my point of view, social media can be of use, but it would be hard to view an individual’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page, without forming a preconception or two.
If you screened via Facebook and saw a status in favour of a terror attack (which you felt was unjust), it would be very hard to not cast judgement.

The truth is that you cannot possibly use social media to do anything other than discriminate, when hiring.

It’s clear that employers and recruitment consultants must tread very carefully.

Being constructive and open, we know social media screening happens. Arguably it’s a trap in terms of forcing discrimination, in some way or another.
But what about the candidates? I believe that until some sort of formal law is brought into place, which it may well be, if you are seeking a new job, be realistic with yourself about how the world works.
Social media is there, it exists and is in the public domain, where nothing is sacred. Whilst nobody wants to be discriminated against, it’s fair to say that even those who screen applicants using social media who have all the right intentions, your actions online may well sway opinion, one way or another. It’s human nature and an unescapable fact of the voyeuristic nature of people.

If I were to give any advice to a candidate, it would be that you should accept the facts of this modern world and instead, harness them; use social media as a tool to impress.

The solution is simple enough; tighten your security settings.
You’re unlikely to be lose out on a job because someone can’t see your Facebook page, in fact a social media snooper is used to being locked out of profiles!

A job seeker need only remember one thing; you are represented by your actions, both at work and in your own time. Either don’t do something that’ll affect your career, or make sure that only the those who can see your profile, are those who you want to see it!

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