The Role of Social Media in Employment Decisions

Date: May 30, 2018
Category: Social Media

Traditionally, many employers still use interviews and other assessment instruments in order to select the best candidate. Undoubtedly, these assessment methodologies are very reliable and valid that significantly minimizes the adverse effect. On the contrary, in the 21st century many employers consider social media, such as LinkediIn, Facebook, or Tweets as reliable data collection. The recent grow of social media platforms give a unique possibility for candidates to reach those who can hire them. Online networking has spearheaded it way into the social continuous flow, therefore there are still many question relating to the protection of candidates’ personal information. Thus, it is clear that the process of selecting future employees should be thoroughly analyzed in order to avoid slippery rope, such as violation of social security rights and limitations of the employment statute. 

In the past decade, social media totally transformed the recruitment process by generating user profiles that can bring all necessary information about the person. An easy access to behavioral and personal information has deteriorated the recruitment process, since employers select future candidate not for his/ her personal traits or experience, but for his/ her social life. Most studies have shown a tendency amid employers who monitor and select new employees basing on information presented in Facebook or Tweeter. Such unprofessional approach of recruitment not only worsens future of the company, but also it casts doubts on the importance of recruitment and its validity. Nowadays the question about reliability of social media information in the selection process should be highly addressed, since its adverse effect is clearly seen. For instance, many employers make their decision about future employee looking at spelling and syntax in Facebook or Tweeter. Undoubtedly, such selection of candidates is unseen and unprofessional. Blacksmith and Poeppelman (2014) point out that prior recruiters used face-to-face interviews and cold calling in order to select the best candidate. However, the introduction of social media has totally transformed recruitment framework. Statistically it is known that 92% of companies use social media in order to select future employees. Comparing to the previous year, the statistical data demonstrated 89% (Hidy & McDonald, 2013). Thus, it is clear that the role of social media in recruitment has significantly grown. However, the efficiency of recruitment has been totally deteriorated.

Many business corporations use social media in order to catch the best employees

For example, organizations, such as Ernst & Young (one of the biggest financial leader) and Sodexo (French multinational company that provides food services) use social media not only to promote their services and find potential customers, but also to inform the public about unique priorities and possibilities that employees of their company have. Such active company advertizing demonstrates big social media impact on people (Cavic et al, 2013). Unfortunately, many scholars agree that social media has unlimited excess to human private information: everything can be read and analyzed. Doubtless, this situation is very dangerous since everybody is controlled and checked by social media. Globalized means of communication have precipitated exchange of information; however, humans have become totally dependent on that rapid exchange. Nobody cares about the prime aim of social media and authorities who can easily check and gather any information about the person. 

According to the definition, social media is a group of internet-based services that provide and exchange information about user. Social media includes a big variety of blogs, video sharing, pictures, music, audio, and networking sites. The information about User Generated Content is always available for everybody. What is more, computer-literate people can quickly gather the necessary information about individuals and organizations (Cavico, 2013). 

According to statistics, it is known that 65% employees and employers use social media to make human resource decisions (Blacksmith & Poeppelman, 2014). Due to current changes in social media area, the question about reliability and validity of information has been arisen. If to talk about reliability, it is known that there is no standardized document or network system that can provide reliable information about the user. Despite this fact, employers still rely on the information presented on blogs and make their decisions based on that unreliable data. This can be explained by the fact, that shared information is uncontrolled and largely customizable. Another issue relating to social media and employment decisions is the question of validity. It can be explained by lack of appropriate and truthful information about the user. Undoubtedly, social validity plays a crucial role in choosing right candidates; thus, it should be thoroughly analyzed. 

In the recruitment process, enrollment specialists will undoubtedly look at candidates’ interpersonal organization profiles. Statistically, it is known that approximately 73% of enrollment specialists check social blogs and different networking systems while asking a person for the first job interview (Hidy & McDonald, 2013). However, it is still not understandable what the aim of such search is and why social media plays a pivotal role in employment decisions. It is generally known that employers are inclined checking candidates’ profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter in order to see candidate’s teamwork skills and active social role. For example, chatting about global projects will demonstrate candidates’ active life position.  Another explanation of analyzing applicants’ social pages is examination of social fitness of the person. For instance, if a candidate participates in many additional activities and trainings, it will definitely show his/ her adaptability to different job situations. What is more, recruiters are likely to examine LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter of future employee’s profile in order to find social activity of the person. For example, a candidate can be not asked to come for the first job interview if he/ she do not have a profile in Facebook because am employer may think that this applicant has a keen desire to hide some information. According to Marcum and Perry (2014), it is known that globalized society has provided everybody with unlimited access of exchanging information about each other. Freedom of speech and thoughts has significantly transformed the cultural landscape of the society that has become a global village where everybody can get information about his/ her acquaintance for a short period of time. However, it should be mentioned that the freedom of speech provided by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not give an absolute right to free speech (Marcum & Perry, 2014).

It is generally true that information presented on Facebook or Twitter may have either a positive or negative effect on recruitment. For instance, if a candidate has posted pictures or videos relating to the solution of global issues or his/ her active voluntary social role, it will positively influence selection process. For instance, 66% respondents have answered that social profile totally demonstrates human social role and there is a tinny possibility to hide something (Marcum & Perry, 2014). On the contrary, posting of pictures form the parties (especially where one can see alcohol beverages and cigarettes), using of medicine, and violation of legal and ethical code of behavior will have a negative impact on recruitment. For example, 77% interviewees has answered that if a person makes a picture with alcohol bottle, it shows his/ her irresponsibility and immaturity. 

Nowadays, it is known that courts and legislatures are working hard in order to control the application of social media in making employment decisions. While solving this issue, legislative system thoroughly examines the rights of different social networking services to post information about user. Additionally, law authorities check the unauthorized access by employers to private social media accounts. Also, legislative system is trying to develop a project that can guarantee privacy of human rights in social media and rational application of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkeIn in the recruitment processes (Hidy & McDonald, 2013). 

Scholars have recommended to employers to apply only reliable data from social media resources

For example, if an employer wants to find out all necessary information about a candidate it is a good idea to talk in Skype and check applicant’s education, qualification, and experience. Moreover, an employer can use chat as a quick tool of information exchange in order to ask tricky questions relating to candidate’s general way of thinking. In such way, an employer can get real information about a candidate and only then to make decisions.

All in all, previously recruiters were likely to use face-to-face communication in order to select the best candidate. Nowadays, this tendency has been changed due to rapid development of social media tools. Nobody can be sure that social media tools have completely deteriorated recruitment process; however, everybody will agree that social networking has totally changed traditional selection process. Relating to the above mentioned evidence, it is clear that social media has caused many problems, such as reliability and validity of information about the applicants. Moreover, revolutionized mass media tools cast doubts on the efficiency of employment decisions since the information provided on the websites is in most cases unreliable. Thus, a professional employer should select a future employee based on relevant data gathered from reliable social media sources. 

References

  1. Blacksmith, N., & Poeppelman, T. (2014). Three ways social media and technology have
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