Future Manager Italy Insights

When Social Screening becomes Candidate Stalking

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Author: Future Manager Research Center

Nowadays who is not subscribed to at least one social network? Although in the first decade of the 21st century the generations of the so-called boomers had been reticent towards social networks, now things have definitely changed. In fact, they too have learned to familiarize themselves with these new technological tools and, we can certainly say, that the use they make of them is almost comparable to that of younger millennials.

Recruiters are particularly aware of this, as they consult and study the candidates’ profiles on a daily basis in the personnel research and selection, also through these powerful means of communication and information sharing.

This phenomenon is defined as “Social Media Profiling” or also “Social Screening”. On the one hand, it can be extremely helpful in selecting the most suitable talent for business needs, on the other, sometimes the abuse of social media by HR managers can lead to real cases of stalking that often escalate into discrimination of various kinds.

In fact, by having access to the candidates’ contents and information on their social networks’ profile, recruiters can decide to exclude them from the selection processes on the basis of real prejudices.

The problem arises when the limit is crossed: while selecting a talent, some recruiters make their choice, by carefully analyzing the candidate’s personal profile instead of his professional curriculum.

Clearly, not all social platforms facilitate these abuses. For example, social screening proves to be a precious source for the acquisition of talents on LinkedIn, a social network that contains professional pages and profiles. In these cases, privacy is absolutely protected.

The case of digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is different: most of the users registered on these social networks use them for personal purposes, to maintain contacts with friends and relatives. Many of these share posts with a deeply private and emotional connotation, thus far from being useful for completing their candidate profile for a position.

Furthermore, it is not possible to define the ideology or the real temper of a candidate from a post on social networks and, therefore, only on assumptions. In addition, it is potentially illegal for recruiters to base their own evaluation criteria on private life’s aspects.

It is understandable that an HR manager will try by all means to steal the personality of a candidate in a well-rounded way. However, given that there is the possibility of limiting the visibility of a social account only to selected people, be careful and protect your privacy.

A Talent Acquisition project is the result of a fair and impartial evaluation by the HR staff, who should focus on the actual skills and abilities of the candidates and not on their “cultural” suitability.

The only real way to understand if they are talented resources is not to spy on their social profile, but rather to test them, perhaps through a targeted interview.