We Googled You

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Case We googled you
The problem that we need to evaluate is the recruitment practices for a new position in the country of China for the company Hathaway Jones. Fred Western is the CEO of Hathaway Jones. He is interested in hiring Mimi Brewster for the new division he is planning to open in China. Mimi Brewster grew up in China, speaks Mandarin and a local dialect. Mimi’s education background includes an MBA from Stanford University and her experience includes the re-launching of two brands from the largest clothing company in the United States. While Fred was seriously considering Mimi for the position, the VP of Human Resources, Virginia Flanders was conducting the usual background check with a twist. Virginia was also doing an online background on the applicant. This is when she found a few articles in Google on Mimi’s past; that on Virginia’s view, compromised Mimi’s candidacy for the position in China. The key issues in this case are:

1. The legality of using the internet for prescreening candidates as part of the hiring process 2. Mimi’s lack of professional international and managerial experience (expatriates) 3. Lack of a description of the position in China

4. Internet reputation
5. Lack of policy and procedure in recruitment
6. Lack of an effective communication between the HR and the CEO 7. Inside promotion or Outside new Manager
The assumptions are:
1. Mimi is willing to go for a second interview and explain the pictures 2. Mimi is willing to have a consultation with the CEO of reputation defender 3. Company has a budget for leadership development

4. Partnering with a local marketing agency
The internet has become a very powerful tool in every area of our society. It is bringing information to people for different purposes and in many different industries. Businesses have taken advantage of the expanding role of the internet in our daily lives and have incorporated it into the screening process when hiring new employees. The internet has not replaced the traditional screening tools but it is being used as a supplement in the hiring process. “As an employer, you likely believe that the more information you have about the job applicants, the better your hiring decisions will be” (Steingold, 2005). Not to our surprise, many hiring managers have the same belief. This is precisely what Virginia is doing; she is trying to gather as much information as possible about the candidate. Virginia is using the traditional screening tools but also the online social networks tools. It is interesting that in the past a qualified candidate would have to only worry about what a former employer would say about his professional qualification. But now, the same qualified candidate can expect an additional inquiry into their personal social media accounts. “we found that future employees expect employers to check online for information available about them” (Clark & Robert, 2010) We agree with Virginia’s practice, a company should know “the good, the bad and the ugly” about an applicant. More so, when the company is considering an applicant for a position of leadership as in this particular case. “If a company is sending out one expatriate to head up a new venture in a foreign country, the selection of an expatriate candidate is even more critical because of the direct relationship between individual and company success or failure” (Lansing & Boonman, 2011). The position they are opening in China is a position of authority, power and influence. Mimi, if she gets hired, will be the face for the company in China “or the primary information liaison between the foreign operation and headquarters” (Lansing & Boonman, 2011). For these reasons it is justified that the company have a complete picture of this candidate. Now the ethical question to consider is whether the company is doing this research without the knowledge of job applicants? We understand that most of the communication...
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