This month CareerBuilder released its annual social media recruitment survey and its findings were of particular importance to us. For one, the survey found that 60 percent of employers are using social media to screen candidates. But most saliently, “36 percent of hiring managers say they've requested "to be a friend" or "follow candidates who have private accounts."
Sound suspicious to you? It should. Snooping into individual private accounts and “friending” for the purposes of investigation is unethical, and in some cases, illegal. If a prospective or current employee has made their content private, companies need to respect that choice.
The Consequences of 'Friending' Job Candidates on Social Media
The legal implications of snooping into a candidate’s private social media are quite clear. If a hiring manager friends a candidate and then sees something that falls under a protected class, under the EEOC they are breaking employment law. Moreover, such practices leave companies extremely vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits.
This breach of privacy also puts candidates in a precarious position. According to CareerBuilder, 32 percent of candidates have refused to accept friend requests or grant following permissions from hiring managers. The survey also found that 41 percent of employers say they are less likely to interview people if they can’t find information of them online. We believe remaining private is a candidate's right. A candidate should not have to have their privacy breached for the sake of a landing a job.
Surveys like these highlight the need for a standardized and user-friendly approach to candidate screening. If these are folks that will eventually become your most prized asset—your team—don't you want to get started on the right foot?