Social Media as a Hiring Platform: Rogerian Essay
In today’s society, social media has become an important aspect of everyone’s life. The emergence of many social media platforms has facilitated the sharing of personal information where it can be accessed by everyone, especially the potential employers. It has become a culture, especially among the employers who use employees’ social media information to screen them and get to know more about their personal life (Davison, Bing and Kluemper 16). Although, it is appropriate for hiring managers to know the social life of their employees it is not effective to use social media as a hiring platform. Ideally, there is a difference between professional life and social life. What an employee does in his or her social life should not be compared to his or her professional life. This essay does not dispute that social media platform is an ineffective recruitment site, but it takes a position that it is fundamental for the hiring managers to establish its relative impact on the whole hiring process.The survey conducted by Robert Walters among the hiring managers in 2016 found that 64 percent of the employers used professional social media sites, for example, LinkedIn to access more personal information about their potential employees. On the other side, 39 percent admitted that they used social media sites to screen potential employees, but it was not the company’s rule (Walters 11). In the same light, a half of the companies surveyed said they were willing to check their candidates’ social media accounts for information if they felt it was necessary. Additionally, among all the hiring managers who were surveyed, 27 percent of them admitted having used Facebook to evaluate their candidates while 15 percent admitted having used Twitter to dig more personal information about their prospective employees. Even though using social media to get to know about the candidates help the hiring managers to access who their candidates are, it is crucial for the employer to have the distinct and justifiable purpose of doing so.
According to the Global HR research, the use of social media platforms to screen potential employees has both the advantages and disadvantages. For example, using reputable sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook help the employers to know more about the employees. This benefit can be justified on the grounds that many professionals use social media sites, to exhibit their achievements, post their articles or even share information that can be helpful to the society (Global HR Research). The employer will focus on these traits to gauge the skills and the ability of the potential employee. Second, in the event where the employer relies on professional social media sites such as LinkedIn, he or she may get to know about the potential employee’s previous job positions, achievements, level of education and even recommendations from the former employees. The employer may refer to the recommendations from the employee’s former employers to determine how he or she can overcome the work challenges. This will also be an opportunity to learn about the soft skills of the candidate.
As much as social media platforms are effective in the hiring process, there are instances where they prove ineffective. For example, Global HR Research noted that social media sites are not reliable. These sites are prone to hacking. Therefore, the hiring managers cannot testify that the comments or posts found in the potential employee personal social media platform belong to him or her. Second, the hiring manager cannot justify that the wall containing the employee information is authentic. This may result in the employee being accused wrongly or the employers making wrong decisions regarding the attitudes and behaviors of the would-be employees. It will only be effective if the employee provides the social media platform links to the employer.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, may contain protected information like age, race gender, religious and political views of potential employees. Therefore, it may act as a leeway to discrimination by the employers in the recruitment process (Global HR Research). An aspiring employee may be left out just because he or she belongs to a certain religion or race. Therefore, unless this information is hidden by the applicant, then these social platforms remain inappropriate selection sources. It may also be appropriate for the human resource managers to notify potential employees about their intention to use the social platforms to shortlist them. This may enable the employees to hide or scrap off some personal details that may compromise their suitability for the post in question.
As explained by Global HR Research in its website, using social media pages in scrutinizing employees for jobs may raise equal employment opportunity concerns. For instance, some job applicants may not have a social media footprint. Does this, therefore, mean that they will not be employed? Some people also have social media accounts which they rarely post their ideas on. The employers may, therefore, not be able to find rich information about the applicant in such accounts. This could compromise their tendency to qualify for a job. However, if the employers could use other means apart from social media to evaluate the employees for jobs, then such employees could qualify. For instance, a prospective employee who has worked for other organizations may have no social media account, but with positive reviews from former employers. The employing organization may get access to these reviews by contacting referees listed by the job applicant.
Most job seekers expect to be considered for a post in an organization according to the laid-down processes (Walter 10). It is within these parameters that organizations should address the issues about attitudes or values that may be held by a job applicant. Psychometric testing centers and other interactive exercises are often at a better place to answer these questions as compared to personal social media pages.
In addition, the employers may only be able to obtain a screenshot information about the employee in social media pages. Some information such as the criminal background of the employee may not be available in these sites. The employees may also form a tendency of posting only positive information about themselves, and leave out the negative ones. Therefore, the employers should use social media as a portion of the pre-screening process. They should also be sure to conduct an in-depth screening using other sources to get the full picture of the job applicant.
Employers may also violate the laws relating to social media privacy, especially when they dig into employees personal profiles such as age, sex, gender, and disability statuses, and use these aspects as a way of shortlisting them for various job openings (Walters 10). If the recruitment process is to be free and fair, then the employers should not be given access to some personal information of the employees like the disability status as this may compromise employee’s rights and also lead to a breach of legal provisions relating to employee privacy. According to the research conducted by Walters (10), over a half of employees have reported editing their personal profiles to become more appealing to the employers. In this case, the information obtained by the employers may not be representative of the employee’s behavior, personality or even ability. To escape this limitation, the recruiting companies must be watchful when using social media as one of the job candidates’ evaluation tool. They may use a combination of sources including government agencies like criminal investigation departments to seek criminal backgrounds of the job applicants.
Employees also have full control of their accounts. In case they don’t want employers to have instant access to their social life, they can avoid posting some of their social information in social media. If the employees are fully aware that they may be evaluated using their social media accounts, they can avoid posting messages that may reflect on their attitudes, emotions, social life, and political views. The employers are also not allowed by the Stored Communications Act to ask for passwords of the employees in cases where they are doing the social media searches in-house. The employers will therefore not be able to make an appropriate decision regarding the attitudes, political orientation and emotional variations of the job applicants using their social media accounts. In this case, they should use a combination of sources such as referrals and not just social media.Lastly, job applicants may put some kind of limited access to their accounts to protect the leakage of their personal data to unauthorized individuals and the general public (Walters 10). Different social media platforms provide users with different controls to filter the contents in their pages. Using these controls, social media users are able to choose what to appear in their walls. They are also able to delete posts that they consider offensive or undesirable. This may make it difficult for the employers to have access to some vital information regarding the employees. The employees may also create “ghost” accounts using other hidden names where they can post their personal information and other social views. Additionally, in cases where the applicants limit access to their accounts, the employers may not be able to form an accurate view of the applicant’s behavior and potential. This makes social media quite inappropriate for use in recruiting employees.
In a nutshell, social media forms a rich platform for employers to gain important information about prospective employees and job applicants. This information may be used in shortlisting candidates for specific job openings in the organization. However, employers should be wary of the shortcomings of using these platforms in the recruitment process. There is a sharp difference between the employees’ social lives and their professional lives. This is why some employees may opt to edit their personal details in their social media accounts to become more appealing for job openings of their interest. Employees may also create access limitations to deter employers from digging into their social information. Social media usage in screening employees for jobs may also raise equal employment opportunity and privacy concerns. The employers may also obtain only a screenshot information about the employees. Therefore, these platforms are not very appropriate for use in screening employees for jobs. If the employers must use social media platforms, then they should supplement them with other sources such as employees’ personal resumes and government agencies to gain a true picture of the employees.