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IS IT FAIR FOR RECRUITERS TO MAKE REJECTION DECISIONS BASED ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

Wednesday 4th November 2015
There is an ever-increasing need for recruiters to have an in-depth knowledge of information about the candidates they represent and it wasn’t too long ago that this information came purely from a candidates CV, and through speaking with them either over the phone or face-to-face. Recently though, with the unparalleled popularity and use of social media outlets this has changed. 

Nowadays, recruiters and hiring managers are inundated with outlets and sources they are able to utilise to access information about their candidates. Because of this, recruiters can now make judgement and decisions about candidates they are dealing with through information they have found from sources not necessarily provided by the candidate, such as social media platforms.

The rise of Social Media…
Candidates these days increasingly choose to live their lives online whether that’s through Facebook,Twitter, Instagram or any other online outlet, where they constantly post things about their personal lives, much of the time being blissfully unaware of exactly who has access to the information they are pushing out into the online world.

Many are surprised when they realise just how easy it is for strangers to access what they consider to be ‘personal’ information found on their social media profiles.

So, is what you’re selling worth buying?
Brands use social media to market their services, they want to appeal to their target market and boost sales of their products or create a sense of brand awareness in the market.

This is really no different for human beings, lots of people use social media outlets as a space to market themselves to the people around them, people want to portray themselves in a certain light to others, so they use their social media outlets to reflect the image they want their network of followers to see.

If you are a job seeker in this day and age, it can be said that candidates should be taking into consideration what their social media presence says about them. Diligent recruiters these days WILL search for a candidate on various social media platforms to access more information; with recent research conducted by Career Builder stating that 51% of employers will now social media screen candidates.  What they find when they do is completely in the hands of the candidate.

How can a candidate benefit from this?
For jobseekers that choose to embrace social media making it integral to their job search, it can be a great way for them to showcase their interest in their industry of choice. For example, if a software developer with an active presence on social media, engages and converses with their network on the subject of programming, it can be beneficial for prospective employers to see their interest, passion and viewpoints. (See our earlier blog, ‘start your social job search today’). Does your interest in your profession stretch further than your working hours?

Today, culture-fit is such a key consideration for hiring managers when recruiting new team members. A person’s social profile can say a lot about the type of person they are and can tell the hiring manager a lot in terms of whether that person would fit well into their existing team.

It is not without risk…
For other people their social media outlets could prove detrimental to their job search in worst cases being their downfall. Where publicly available information about a candidate is questionable or presents the candidate in a negative light, a recruiter can access this information and use it to make a judgement on the candidate’s suitability for a particular company or position.

For example: a candidate may be everything the hiring manager is looking for on paper: well qualified with the required experience and may even have had a successful interview. If the recruiter or hiring manager does some digging around by exploring the candidate’s social media pages, a candidate who has not marketed themselves effectively could jeopardise their chances in being hired.

Research undertaken by Career Builder on the top social media red flags on why companies are passing on job candidates demonstrates this:

46% Posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information
41% Posted information about them drinking or using drugs
36% Bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee
32% Poor communication skills
28% Discriminatory comments
22% Linked to criminal behaviour
21% Screen name was unprofessional

It seems that companies are fearful of the image their employees are promoting online to potential customers and clients and want to ensure that they minimise their risk of being misrepresented.

The question is how fair is this for recruiters to make rejection decisions on this basis? 

Is this taking away freedom of speech for candidates? 

Or should candidates expect that their social media profiles will be reviewed by potential employers and upload their content accordingly? 

To what extent should employers monitor their existing employees and potential employee’s online activity?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, leave your comments below or tweet us @AmsourceTech.
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