?Social media screening is the review of a candidate’s social media profile pre-interview to obtain information that the candidate may not disclose that may otherwise eliminate them from being hired or validate the employer’s hiring decision (Stoughton, Thompson & Meade 2013, p 73). Because of the social media’s casual nature, social media has been used mostly for people’s personal life where they can freely express themselves; as a result, the use of social media in hiring decisions becomes particularly attractive towards employers as it gives unprecedented transparency of the character of their potential candidates.***
Although social media screening has given employers the ability to flush out phonies and validate resume info, employers should shy away from using social media screening techniques to influence their hiring decision as it is considered a form of privacy intrusion and may unconsciously induce bias within the employer.
First and foremost, employers should not screen candidates through social media because it is a privacy breach in the candidates’ eyes.***
Line between the candidates’ private and their professional lives blurred – employers gain access to a candidates’ personal information – lack of segregation between a candidate’s private and professional persona – fearful of having privacies breached (Sánchez Abril, Levin & Del Riego 2012). – searching through candidate’s social media equivalent to stalking (Segal ;LeMay 2014).***
For example, the candidate will have feelings of distrust towards the company – social media screening has been conducted without her consent by the hiring company – turning down the job offer or even taking legal actions against the hiring company (Stoughton, Thompson ; Meade 2013, p 73).
Besides that, employers should not use social media screening techniques before hiring a candidate as it may open employers up towards biased decisions and create unfair advantages towards favoured classes (Lawrence n.d.). The favoured class being ***
Creates perceptions about the candidate and draw conclusions on their personality dimensions and behaviour – may affect the interview process and how the candidate is evaluated in the interview***
Lack of consistency – protected class are more likely to have social media profiles than job seekers of other classes (Lawrence n. d.). Inconsistent amount of information among candidates in social media.
Employers may argue that social media screening may reveal reliable information that would not be covered during the interview that might deem them unsuitable for the job and prevent the employer from wasting precious resources on hiring toxic candidates.***
Employers could find incriminating photos or posts that may cause them to not hire the candidates – 54% employers found social media content concerning the candidate that causes them not to hire the candidate (Salm 2017).***
This argument is weak because there is lack of context in the social media content presented online to the employer. Context is important as it prevents employers from jumping to conclusions without the acknowledgement of the circumstance the candidate is in when said content was posted on social media. For example, ***** photos of the candidate with alcohol – employers have misassumption that candidate has drinking problems – 38% candidates not hired for information posted that is about drinking or using drugs – without the context of it being a special occasion for the candidate – candidate not hired even though consumption of alcohol is irrelevant to the candidate’s career (Salm 2017).
To sum it up, though alluring, employers should not use social media to screen candidates before hiring as it is ethically compromising, ineffective in evaluating the candidate, and could risk discrimination during the hiring process. Social media is turning into a platform for professional evaluation rather than its intended purpose: to provide a platform for people to have fun socializing with friends and family online. And as such, social media screening challenges the notion that social media is a haven for people to take a break from their work persona and freely express themselves and the lifestyles they lead without any offline consequence. If the use of social media screening among employers continues to rise, we are likely to see a drastic change towards social media users and their view towards social media in general.