Besides common recruitment channels that are used by human resources specialists, such as ads on job sites, newspaper advertisements (increasingly less used, some companies even completely abandoning this method), specialized magazines, internal recommendations or the hiring of specialized recruitment agencies, lately there has appeared a method for recruitment that used in an intelligent manner can bring much added value to the recruitment process: the use of online social networks.
The expansion of social networks in the most recent years has lead employers to consider the online profiles of the potential candidates in the recruitment process. Social Media has become not only a place for connections between people and their friends and relatives, but also a bridge between candidates and companies or employers. Social networking online is a method of filtering out the unsuitable candidates.
Through social networks, employers can quickly sketch the profile of a potential candidate. Social networks are those channels that offer an overview of the personality and experience of a candidate. Through the social networks, employers are able to take in consideration the hobbies, passions, and moral traits the targeted candidates own, especially companies that want people who match their mission and values.
Recruitment and selection of staff acquires, nowadays, new dimensions in the context of spreading interconnection technologies. This virtual and globalized world allows recruiters to expand their sources of potential candidates, simplify and improve the selection of these candidates and to obtain high efficiency in recruitment activities, both in terms of costs and as investment in time
Recruiting means first of all, interconnection and the establishment of links, links that need to be as many in as short time as possible. And what better way to establish connections than to enter the new realm of communication and social networking called "social media". Social networking has been a real godsend for the recruitment industry in recent years, and polls show that the overwhelming majority of the hiring companies now use social networks in their hiring practices.
Experts in human resources are certainly sitting on a gold mine, but the effectiveness of hiring through social networks depends to a significant extent on the ability of the recruiter to intelligently harness the unique resources that each and every social network platform provides. After all, the same resources are valuable and available to the competition as well.
There is, therefore, in social media, a plethora of opportunities of which the human resources specialists may benefit to streamline and eficientize the recruitment process. But this is only half the equation. Knowing how to fully utilize the opportunities offered by social networks recruitment is the other half. This is possible only when the employer has defined a strong marketing strategy and has set clear objectives and targets. An effective social media presence means more than recruiting, means communication strategy and brand marketing.
Social networks have changed in recent years how companies interact with their audience, from consumers to employees and the media. Along with these changes, were born legal questions, mainly about accountability for the content posted and the effects of accessing social networks by current and former employees.
Potential Harm to Society
According to a study posted in the “Journal of Business Ethics” on the topic of “Employer’s Use of Social Networking Sites”, the practice of the employer’s in regards to conducting research on the social networks to find potential candidates is wrong and employment decisions should not be made based on that very personal information of the candidate.
Society needs the communication environment found on the social networks and along with it, the realms of personal privacy should be protected. The use of social networks as a hiring practice by the employer could damage this evolving communication environment, destroying the fine barrier between what is appropriate for the work medium and what should exist in one’s private life. Seen from this perspective, this practice attacks a natural human’s right, namely that of having a personal space.
We should be very aware of its effects in the future, as this practice would affect more the younger generation and that who are teenagers now. What they do, what they post, how they behave in the online environment, on the social networks could hurt them later when they would be seeking employment. All the information uploaded and transmitted via an online channel is nowadays permanently stored and if these practices of the employers will be encouraged, everything one does may be judged by an employer in case of applying for a job.
According to Rifkin (1991), the employers should cease the practice of informal online background checks of the job candidates and take the necessary time and resources to discuss and establish a policy to guide when and how an employer will use information obtained from online sources in the future.
Clark, L., & Roberts, S. (2010). Employer’s Use of Social Networking Sites: A Socially Irresponsible Practice. Journal of Business Ethics.
Rifkin, G. (1991, December 7). Do Employees Have a Right to Electronic Privacy? Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/08/business/do-employees-have-a-right-to-electronic-privacy.html