The latest news and advice from our recruitment experts.
On the face of it, there are few businesses who’d hire someone with the social media profile of Donald Trump.
All those early morning tweets, attack posts and rabid commentary add up to the sort of staffer that many companies might see as a bit of a liability – but when it comes to scouting for talent, how much should recruiters rely on judging a Facebook profile by its cover?
Businesses should always ask permission before trawling a candidate’s social media profile; the truth is that most seldom do. And when a hiring manager scoots around in social media and discovers a few party pics, some comments on personal preferences – perhaps even comments or posts that talk to private persuasions – they are going to start building up a picture of their applicant.
There are some very obvious dangers here:
Personal bias: No matter how much a hiring manager might profess neutrality, there are always topics which might sit a little deeper in their consciousness. When this topic was discussed on Australian talkback radio, one employer-caller admitted to cutting an applicant because she dressed her cat in the colours of a sports team that the employer detested.
Privacy: The basis of any interview should be the information that you’re candidate has volunteered to you. If you haven’t asked permission to view their social media profiles then candidates can be calling foul if questioning and decision-making starts to rely on potentially discriminatory territory – and it is clear from questioning if that information has come from an applicant’s social media accounts.
Finding out too much: Employers can’t un-see information on social media and that can have implications when they see references to, say, illnesses (imagine how to process someone who frequently shares posts from a diabetes website) or political affiliations or family ties. People’s ideas about what they consider private can be very different through the generations, and prospective employers run the risk of discovering too much information without seeing the whole context.
While the age of artificial intelligence and algorithms that can trawl social media to build an accurate picture of a prospective candidate is imminent, at the moment any technological or human efforts to discover someone’s true potential worth to a business is still flawed.
And both for any candidate Trumps out there or those companies which could well do with hiring a “Donald” for their skills rather than their views, this social media trawling can be potentially dangerous.
QJumpers General Manager Simon Oldham says there’s still too much of a risk to both candidate and company of forming an opinion off the back of a few Facebook photos or tweets.
“I’m still to see a really awesome system that can efficiently get an accurate profile on candidates across social media,” Simon says. “But even if they’e not using technology, most employers will be doing manual searches of social media profiles before they employ anyone. And if a candidate is smart they’ll have private profiles, but a huge amount of young people don’t.
“A business can’t be seen to be using these searches to hire someone because that would be discriminatory so you need to be careful. A business is meant to ask permission first but most people don’t and they end up having a look and forming opinions based on what they read.
“The major danger is that these businesses end up with biased opinions based on ill-informed information.”
The key to finding the right candidate for the job still revolves around the basics such as understanding and writing the right job descriptions for roles and then finding a robust system to find, shortlist, interview and on-board applicants. The right systems and software, customised to your business will help streamline this process while maintaining the level playing field necessary to hire a broad spectrum of workers.
QJumpers is leading the way at finding innovative cost and time-saving ways to improve recruitment. To learn more about how we work and how our software can help your company, contact us on 0800 758673, firstname.lastname@example.org or via our website.
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