by Karen Sutherland, Monash University Social media has definitely changed the game for job-seekers and recruiters. Traditionally, HR recruiters placed an advertisement, sifted through the responses, and interviewed the shortlisted candidates before appointing the best interviewee with the best references. Those days are over.
The increase in social media adoption has provided recruiters with access to volumes of information about candidates that they were never before privy to. With this vast amount of candidate data at their fingertips, recruiters may struggle with the ethical implications regarding how much they let this information influence their decisions when appointing staff.
Limited research has been undertaken in Australia in relation to this issue. However, research from the Unites States suggests that HR recruiters are using social media in two ways: to find candidates and to screen them after receiving their applications.
The jury is still out on the effectiveness of social networking sites such as LinkedIn as recruitment tools, although, they have been described as a “shop window” for recruiters searching for suitable employees. A US study of 1000 recruiters found that 92% used or planned to use social media as part of their recruitment strategy and 93% chose LinkedIn as their most favoured tool for this process.
While the potential savings to time and costs may be enticing for recruiters using social media instead of traditional methods, this practice limits the field exclusively to social media users. If social media skills are not a key selection criterion, limiting the candidate pool to only those with a social media presence could be deemed as unethical and discriminatory. It is unfair for candidates to be excluded purely because they have not jumped on the social media bandwagon. Additionally, recruiters could be overlooking quality candidates by limiting the field.