Ethical Perspective: The Role of Social Media in Recruitment and Selection “A” is a Bangladeshi holding company that conducts its business all over the world. The company aims to be recognized as a global brand and is currently in the process of expanding its operation. To achieve its goal of global expansion, “A” is looking to hire new executives who are young, energetic and outgoing. The executives should have good communication skill as they will have to correspond with potential clients from all over the world.
They should also possess a likeable personality as their work will be people-oriented. The executives should be technologically competent as they may have to communicate online. Mr. Rahim is a senior manager who wants to use social media as a tool to collect more information about the potential recruits. He argues that, as the candidates themselves shared the information on public, it will be completely legal and ethical to use that information in their recruitment and selection process.
As the candidates themselves shared their personal information on a public website, it would not be a breach of privacy to use that information either. He also argues that, when people are asked to share information in a job interview, they are more like to only share the information that make them look good and conceal the information that make them look bad. Thus, the information collected from their personal Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts should help the company judge the candidate from an unbiased point of view. Mr. Karim, another senior manager, is however against the use of social media to collect personal information. From his point of view, it will be an invasion of privacy to collect information from their social media accounts as the candidates intended their accounts for personal use. He also believes that the company should only use the information provided by the candidates themselves in the recruitment and selection process. He thinks that the data collected from social media sites are more likely to be biased as the candidates may not have been serious when posting them.
He argues that although the potential recruits shared their personal information on a public website, they did not give them the permission to use it as a criterion to evaluate their job effectiveness. If this information relates to some aspect of a candidate’s background that could not be requested in an interview, such as age, cultural background, sexual orientation, etc, they could be contravening discrimination law. As the job requires good communicative skills, Mr. Rahim believes that the company should look into the social media presence of their potential recruits. He argues, that if someone doesn’t have a social media account in this age, they are most likely to be backdated and quite incapable of working in a global company. Also, people who have more friends or followers in facebook and twitter are more likely to be outgoing. As the company is looking for outgoing people to join the organization, it should be a valid and reliable selection tool.
Mr. Karim is strongly against this view. He argues that a person’s personality cannot be judged by looking at their social media profile. Just because someone has more friends or followers on social media sites, it cannot be said for certain that person has a more likeable personality. It will be unethical and discriminatory to exclude quality candidates just because they are not active on social media sites.
Mr. Rahim believes that people who post sexist, racist, homophobic remarks on facebook may damage the business reputation of “A”. Some international business partners of “A” may even stop doing business with them. So, “A” has every right to discriminate against employees who post controversial content on their social media accounts. People, who identify with extremist religious or political groups on social media sites, should not be selected as employees.
Mr. Karim argues people’s behavior on social media may not be a true reflection of their views. Just because someone appears sexist, racist or homophobic on social media, that doesn’t mean that that’s how they are in real life. Also, a person’s religious and political views are completely his own. It is certainly not ethical to judge a candidate simply based on what they do in their own time away from work. “A” cannot discriminate against potential candidates just because they shared their views strongly on social media sites.