Social Networking Debate Paper

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Debate Topic: Are Social Networking Sites Good Recruitment Sources?

Social networking is defined by dictionary.com as “the development of social and professional contacts; the sharing of information and services among people with a common interest”, or in terms of computers, it is “the use of Web sites or other online technologies to communicate with people and share information, resources, etc.” (Dictionary.com, 2012). As the business world is evolving and technology overcomes traditional business processes, social networking is becoming a widely discussed concept. Like any other advancement in technology, business executives are left questioning whether they should take advantage of social networking and consider it in their recruiting strategies, or steer away from it due to the risks involved with its use. The book “Taking Sides” portrays two distinct opinions on whether social networking sites are good recruitment sources. In the article, “The Use of Social Networking Websites as a Recruiting Tool for Employees”, Jamie Vicknair approaches the issue by providing statistical support for using social networking in recruiting. Based on a survey taken by 289 students, Vicknair determined 91.7% of respondents currently use an online social networking site, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or LinkedIn. The survey also revealed 69.4% of respondents felt recruiters had the right to check their social networking profile. Vicknair further divulges that 49% of respondents do not feel that their social networking page is private. Overall, Vicknair’s research indicates social networking is widely used, and most students expect employers to tap into their profiles and use it for recruitment efforts. On the other hand, Daniel Solove indicated in his article, “The End of Privacy”, that using social networking in recruitment efforts was an invasion of privacy. Solove argued there has to be a line drawn and even suggested stricter laws should be implemented to protect people’s online privacy. He revealed how mistakes from someone’s younger life can come back to haunt them if traces of their mistakes are cast on the internet. He also attested that everything on social networking sites is not accurate and truly reflective of the person, as gossip and rumors can harness itself in social media. Solove’s overall argument cautions recruiters of making decisions based on what they find on social networking sites. Solove does make a good argument based on the precautions of recruiting via social networking. Employers must be careful, as utilizing this tool creates employer risk by way of encroaching on the private lives of potential candidates. The use of social networking may give declined candidates a basis for discrimination claims, as these sites reveal a ton of information about people that is prohibited from being addressed in job interviews or pre-employment discussions. Also, since information has the risk of being false, recruiters are vulnerable to conducting research on these sites that could be misleading. However, despite Solove’s warnings, I believe social networking has a multitude of benefits that can be extracted if recruiters use it wisely. In particular, social networking transcends normal recruitment efforts as it has the capability to reach a vast majority of people in little time. Social networking morphs the traditional word-of-mouth approach into a high speed vehicle. With a few postings, and “likes”, on media outlets like Facebook.com, an employer has the capability of reaching thousands of applicants in record time. Of course employers must use this approach wisely, as it can cause them to become flooded with applicants and leave the company trying to filter through thousands of candidates to find the best ones. Nonetheless, this tool still provides companies with a cost-effective way of networking and connecting with potential applicants. Overall, creating a social networking profile is inexpensive, easy, and...
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