Employers Use of Social Media in Recruiting

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Employers Use of Social Media in Recruiting

With the arrival of new web technologies, a grey area of ethical responsibility exists concerning the use of the technology within an employer’s capacity. Employers should not be permitted to use social media as a condition of employment, because of privacy infringement, stereotyping, and misrepresentation.

One of the more disturbing ethical infringements on personal privacy is the use of Facebook profiles in employment screening. According to a new survey, conducted by CareerBuilder, thirty-seven percent of companies use social media to research possible job candidates (Hunt and CareerBuilder). This new method of employment screening is a clear infringement on the rights of job candidates. When discussing the possible misuse of social media information, it is important to differentiate between public and private information on the Internet. Many companies, who have used Facebook and LinkedIn for information in their recruiting process, argue that it is ethical because information on the web then is deemed public information and is available for any use desired. This might be true for individuals who leave their profiles completely unprotected and open to public networks. However, protected profile information can be argued to be private information. When a Facebook user posts personal information on their profile and then limits that information to a specific network, such as their school or friends, there is a logical belief that this information should be considered private.

When employers use different types of social media to investigate their potential candidates, they could possibly discover information that is illegal to ask about in an interview, such as the applicant’s race, sexual orientation, age, religion, etc. Nolo Law for All, states that an employer using this information as a basis for hiring, could face a discrimination lawsuit (Can Potential Employers…). A profile could express that...
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