Recruitment & social media – how far is too far?

I got into a Twitter chat recently about social media and recruitment.  Specifically, whether or not it is okay to check out people’s social media feeds during the recruitment process.

Now I’ve seen some fairly risk-averse advice on the subject that cautions you on the risk of (among other things) discrimination claims.

My view on it is simple.

It depends where you go.

On my CV, I am open about much of my social media.  There are links to my Twitter bio (hoping that prospective employers or clients will overlook my frequent Prosecco references), my LinkedIn profile and my blog.  When it comes to applying for jobs, my blog is going to give anyone reading it a sense of who I am and what I believe about my work more than a 2-page CV ever will. What isn’t on there is a link to either my Instagram or Facebook profiles.  The reason for that is that they aren’t about work.  They are for family and friends, or at the very least people I know, sometimes through other social networks.  My regular selfies of me and my significant other (#sorrynotsorry) are not for strangers… or employers.

Those sites that are professional should expect to be reviewed.  When I have been hiring, it is the first place I go and I would expect anyone thinking of hiring me to do the same.  If someone wants to scroll through my unlocked Twitter feed, fill your boots.  You will find a few mentions of One Direction too.  But the other stuff… not so much.

In our social world, platforms are ever-evolving.  There are no rules, apart from your own, about what is public and what is private.  There are fewer expectations of privacy than those of previous generations.  Even if you opt not to use social media, or are even too young to do so, you can still very much have a digital footprint.

So to job seekers I say this… expect to be looked for and at.  Google searched.  If you want stuff to be private, set it that way.

And to employers… if you are going to search people’s social media feeds then say so up front.  Put it on the ATS or the job advert.  Better still, openly ask people to send you their online stuff.  Allow links on your system.  Actively encourage it.  Go to the professional networking sites and read what you need to. But you don’t need to, and should not, trawl through what is clearly something else.  Personal photos.  Shares from many years ago.  Student day stuff.  What someone intends to be personal, platform aside, is probably obvious.

You wouldn’t follow someone down the pub and listen to their conversation before deciding to give them a job.  So leave their social social media alone.


2 thoughts on “Recruitment & social media – how far is too far?

  1. I think it’s an interesting topic especially because of how we approach recruitment these days. There are entire teams who specialise in finding people who don’t apply for roles – and they will use social media to do so quite regularly. So simply informing people you will be checking their digital footprint in your job ads isn’t necessarily enough. It’s also interesting because of how people in different countries, industries and companies approach the subject. In some environments, they will be more open to not only being looked at but also being contacted through social media traditionally perceived as personal space (e.g. Facebook), in others they expect for that space to remain private. Which is why I strongly believe that transparency about what you know about your candidates and how you found that information something that all recruiters should practice.

  2. I think there is no debate on whether employer should visit your twitter account if you specifically mentioned it on your CV. The ethical part comes in if the person scrolls through one’s Facebook account, goes through pictures/statuses and finds out someone really doesn’t like One Direction while he is big fan of them.

    But it also depends on the job of the person. If you are running for a public job, or a UN or EU it may be important to have no indication of your views on certain things in your personal accounts. In the end, once hired you may be asked to sign a consent and abstain of tweeting certain content or close down some accounts all together.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s