Should businesses be able to use Facebook and Twitter searches to determine whether a person is eligible for employment? There are a lot of mixed feelings about this topic, but a lot more companies are doing performing searches on potential candidates for employment eligibility. I think that employers should use social media in conjunction with hiring an individual. Many jobs today are related to the service industry and I feel that some people just do not qualify for jobs in this industry.
More employers today are using Facebook and Twitter searches for determination on if a person is eligible for employment, and for retention of a current employee. In 2010 nearly 22% of employers were checking Facebook profiles when hiring a person to see if they were drinking too much, doing drugs or talking bad about a former employer (Oleniczak, Pike, 2010, P13). So some people argue that it is violating privacy, which has made this questionable (Oleniczak, Pike, 2010, P14).
Well the Federal Government enacted some laws that could be interpreted as a questionable action (Oleniczak, Pike, 2010, P14). One of these states “Personal information shall not be collected by a collector for the inclusion in a record or in a generally available publication unless: (a) The information is collected for a purpose the is a lawful purpose directly related to a function or activity of the collector and, (b) The collection of the information is necessary for or directly related to that purpose (Oleniczak, Pike, 2010, P14).
Well under the first principle an employee could argue that Facebook is personal and considered what they do outside of work, and under reference b, a potential employee could argue that their privacy was invaded and they candidate was not informed that their Facebook profile would be investigated (Oleniczak, Pike, 2010, P14). There have been many lawsuits brought against employers that use Facebook as part of their hiring process, which is starting to be a turn off to employers, because this could hurt them financially (Olencizak, Pike, 2010, P14).
Although the laws do protect us, but employers can still use some of the information in their decision (Elzwig, Peeples, 2009, P9). Employers are basically using the information to apply it towards “good business” (Elzwig, Peeples, 2009, P9). Although employers must take certain steps first before applying their search towards the candidate, which are: * Check social networking sites before making employment decisions in order to gain important information * Verify the accuracy of the information * Recognize the actual purpose of the site Consider the age of the employee or potential employee Develop clear policies in regards to the using social networking * Post what the potential use of the information that is gathered on job postings and the application * Have employees and candidates sign a consent form prior to accessing the information * Check state laws and statutes for privacy (Elzwig, Peeples, 2009, P9) There are a lot of mixed feelings on whether an employer should use social networks as a hiring tool. Two professionals weighed in on an interview in 2008 about this topic, Greg Fish and Timothy Lee.
Greg fish stated: “Social Networking profiles are not resumes and companies should not use them when determining if an applicant should be hired” (Castone. 2008). He further stated, “When companies use these profiles to find not only a professional but also an ideological match for a job, they’re misleading themselves and building ill will with talented prospective employees, who might decline to apply for a job for fear of a comment about China on their blog makes their persona non-grata” (Castone. 2008).
Timothy Lee argues that there are plenty of reasons why employers need to look at social networks (Castone. 2008). He states, “Employees in sales public relations and customer service function as representatives for the companies they work for, so employers have a legitimate interest in ensuring potential workers won’t embarrass the company” (Castone. 2008). “People shouldn’t fear that an employer will get a hold of their profile, but instead expect it and use it to their advantage,” Lee states (Castone. 008). What I feel the Timothy Lee is trying to get at by using our social network profiles to our advantage is basically use it to market yourself in the public view so that you can land that good job, just make sure you keep it clean and neat. I agree with Timothy Lee in his statement that we should not fear that an employer will get a hold of our profiles. Furthermore, I think we should expect it, and accept that an employer is looking at our profiles.
We should use proper etiquette when setting up our profiles and not post anything negative about previous employers, or even post provocative photos. The one thing that I hate the most about going into Wal-Mart, is when I get a rude associate helping me or cashing me out. Wal-Mart does not screen their employees before hiring, I know because I used to work for the company. In conclusion, as time goes on more companies are going to be weighing in on using social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace as a tool for their hiring process.
Although companies should make that as a notable item to potential candidates in the interview giving them a heads up into the fact their company does run a background check and includes a search on social networks. More companies are going to weigh in on this concept and we should just accept the fact that an employer is going to use our profile as a reference. Especially in the service industry such as customer service, collections, sales, or anything that has to do with you being the front or face of the company, should mainly be focusing on this issue.