Human resource professionals rarely factor a job candidate’s social media activity in final hiring decisions, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in the United States.
Sixty-six per cent of the 541 HR professionals surveyed said they do not use social networking websites to screen job candidates due to the potential legal risks and discovering protected characteristics — including age, race, gender and religious affiliation.
Nearly one-half (48 per cent) of HR professionals said they are not able to verify with confidence information from an applicant’s social networking activity. And 45 per cent said information about job candidates taken from these sites may not be relevant to their work-related potential or performance.
The number of HR professionals citing these top three concerns increased between 2008 and 2011.
When SHRM first asked the question in 2008, 54 per cent cited a concern about legal risks and discovering protected-class characteristics. Also, 43 per cent said they were not able to verify the information found in a job candidate’s social media pages. Regarding the third concern, 36 per cent noted the information found in social media may not be relevant to the job or indicative of the job candidate’s performance potential.
Only 18 per cent of 2011 survey respondents said their organization uses social networking sites (such as LinkedIn or Facebook) to screen job candidates during the hiring process. Where online search engines are concerned (such as Google and Yahoo), only 26 per cent of organizations use the sites to screen job candidates during the hiring process.
Furthermore, 71 per cent said their organization has never used or has discontinued using social networking websites to screen job candidates.
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