Using Social Media to Screen Job Applicants? A New Study May Make You Think Twice

Using Social Media to Screen Job Applicants? A New Study May Make You Think Twice

facebookAs an unabashed Wolfpack fan, I already know a lot of good things come out of North Carolina State University, but now I have a reason to share them on Actively Listening!

Researchers at NC State have discovered that, in two separate studies, job applicants that discovered an organization viewed their social media profile as part of the hiring process were less likely to perceive the hiring process as fair. In fact, they may even be more likely to sue the company if they believe they were unfairly overlooked for a position.

“…the participants who were told that their social media profile had been screened formed negative opinions about the hiring organization regardless of whether they had received a job offer. They also reported that they would be more likely to sue an organization if they found its hiring practices to be unjust.”

This is definitely a major consideration for employers as more and more hiring managers start poking around applicants’ Facebook profiles and Twitter streams. While unemployment is running high, there might not be much in the way of consequences, but once talented employees become harder to find, you may find your pre-screening backfires.

Companies using social media to screen applicants should start considering guidelines as to how far they dig, what information is used in the hiring process, and whether an applicant is given advance notice–or at least informed that their social media activities were a part of the hiring process.

And, just like anything in reputation management, don’t think you can just do this covertly and not get found out. Eventually, everyone gets found out!

ByAndy Beal

Andy Beal is The Original Online Reputation Expert™. A bestselling author of two critically-acclaimed reputation management books, a keynote speaker at dozens of events, and brand consultant experience with thousands of individuals and companies.

    3 Comments for “Using Social Media to Screen Job Applicants? A New Study May Make You Think Twice”
    1. Interesting. I wonder why you would tell anyone you’re checking on their social media outlets. There’s no reason too and they’re putting this information out there in the public domain so…why wouldn’t you go see what kind of a person you’re hiring?

      1. As they point out in the original article:

        “Although job applicants would not necessarily know if their social media profiles had been screened, they have several ways of finding out, Foster Thompson says. For instance, an applicant might be tipped off after receiving a suspicious friend request or by talking with current employees and hiring managers who disclose the information—either accidentally or on purpose—in the course of the interview.”

    2. Well Linkedin gives notifications of who has viewed your profile and I usually take the opposite approach. I am glad they took the time to look up my profile. It tells me they didn’t just shoot me an email they took the time to do some research and maybe even read my blog.

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