During topic three’s discussion of developing an authentic online profile, I touched on the fact that 93% of recruiters are using or planning on using social media in their recruitment efforts (Jobvite, 2014). Is this ethical? Do our potential employers have the right to spy on us?
“Yes, why not?”
As Lauren Riley (2014) points out, ‘unless a company has a policy on social media screening, then recruiters aren’t technically doing anything wrong’. Social media is not only a great way to research potential employees but also to discover any warning bells such as incriminating information before employing them.
“No, how dare they!”
Joyce Lemay (2014) compares social media snooping to following a job applicant home and peeking into their front window. Pictures on social media can be misinterpreted as they do not tell the entire story which can lead employers to making erroneous decisions and losing out on talented and suitable employees.
So is this an invasion of our privacy?
Glenn Greenwald (2014) highlights that we as human beings understand the importance of privacy as it entitles us to existence without judgemental eyes of others. I argue that putting something on the Internet stops it from being in one’s realm of privacy because other people, even if it just our friends, can see this information.
What we must realise is that the power is in our hands. The greatest gift that social media gives us is the ability to control our privacy settings. So while we can allow our potential employer to have a good look at our identity on LinkedIn, we can restrict their access to our other, perhaps more personal, online identities such as Facebook and Instagram. Nick Miklusak (2009) discusses here how we can take advantage of positioning ourselves in the best light on social media.
To answer my own question, no I don’t think employers are invading our privacy by looking at our social media because they can only look at what we allow them to look at.
In this video, Ricky Martin (2015) explains how he became excited over a potential employee with an outstanding CV so he proceeded to look at their social media, only to find X-rated wording and unsavoury photos, so he decided not to employ them. A miscalculated judgement or saved by the warning bell? I argue the latter because although these posts and photos could be an inaccurate depiction of the potential employee now, he/she still allowed for the employer to see this inappropriate material.
The bottom line is that social media screening is invaluable to employers. But we are in control of what they can see, so why not use this to our advantage and create the best image possible?
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Greenwald, G (2014) ‘Why Privacy Matters’ TED. Accessed 20/11/14 from http://www.ted.com/talks/glenn_greenwald_why_privacy_matters#t-300330
Jobvite (2014) Social Recruiting Survey. Accessed 06/11/15 from https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jobvite_SocialRecruiting_Survey2014.pdf
Lemay, J (2014) ‘Should Employers Use Social Media to Screen Job Applicants?’ SHRM. Accessed 20/11/15 from http://www.shrm.org/publications/hrmagazine/editorialcontent/2014/1114/pages/1114-social-media-screening.aspx
Martin, R. (2015) ‘Do employers check social media networks before hiring?’ Hyper Recruitment Solutions. Accessed 20/11/15 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA6_C_2rhQo
Miklusak, N (2009) Neil Miklusak CTV Interview: Social Media as a Candidate Screening Tool. Accessed 20/11/15 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA6_C_2rhQo
Riley, L (2014) ‘Social media screening- is it ethical?’ HRZone. Accessed 20/11/14 from https://www.hrzone.com/talent/acquisition/social-media-screening-is-it-ethical