Does Social Recruiting Cross The Boundaries of Privacy?

By Adrian Snood

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Recruiters often turn to Linkedin, Facebook & Twitter when screening candidates for selection, but does it cross the boundaries when it comes to privacy?

This argument seems to be at the forefront of many discussions right now in the age of social recruiting, but how far would you go to make sure that you have found the perfect candidate rather than basing your decisions just on their CV that they had submitted? There is a potential to open a can of worms if you don't take an unbiased approach to candidate screening, so what's the answer when a huge majority of the population are now all searchable in the world of social media? We are all aware that 'what goes on the web, stays on the web', but could this possibly come back to haunt you when sometime in the future you are looking for a new position?


Recruiters now spend more time than ever looking at profiles of potential candidates through LinkedIn. It's easy to see why, as a well filled out LinkedIn profile contains details of education, work history, experience, references and pretty much covers the same sort of detail as a CV. This could also include further details of projects that a candidate had worked on in the past.

The most useful reason for checking out a candidate on LinkedIn is to cross reference dates and work history. If it then all adds up correctly there's no problem at all ... However, if you then start researching a little deeper on the social networks that are 'less' professionally biased as LinkedIn, could you be possibly taking one step to far into the private life of a candidate?


There's a fine line between screening candidates for work history and education details to then checking out a candidates personal Facebook profile.

Facebook is rather more personal and offers access to details that are generally not asked or required at the initial selection process. The information here often contains date of birth, race, gender, religion and marital status. Further more, there is often a raft of images (Yes ... that picture! The one where you had too much wine at a friends wedding)

Recruiters should be aware that Facebook is a social personal network and not a 'business' network. This leads to an ethical question that a recruiter may subconsciously make their decision based on what information they have found on Facebook. The simple answer is to stay away from screening candidate on social networks, but as we all know... This isn't the case anymore as more and more employers, recruiters, candidates and graduates are taking to social media to expand their horizons and network with the people that matter.

If an employer or recruitment agency wishes to use social media in the selection process, they need to recognise that there are boundaries that they should not cross. If a candidate is found to be rejected because of sex, minority or age then there could be case of discrimination brought ... Hardly a situation that anyone would want!

The job seeker

In reality, employers and recruiters can screen social networks, so it's important to carefully manage your own personal brand in these spaces. This doesn't just mean having a shiny, well presented LinkedIn profile either .. this has to apply to Facebook, Twitter and any other popular network that you participate in. Your professional reputation is out there for all to see, so think about what you share online.

Image Credit: Dean Shareski



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