Tecassala, Vela (2013) The use of Social Networking Sites as a tool for employers in screening job candidates during the recruiting process : The ethical dilemma. Irish perspective. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.
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Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, enables users to publish personal information on timeline to communicate and interact with other users. Both social networking sites and search engines are being used as a tool for screening candidates during the recruitment process, because of its easy accessibility of information about candidates. Employers can be tempted to view candidate’s personal information on social networking sites, however performing such practice can lead to legal, ethical and privacy implications. Many of the reports on social networking sites in the workplace are internationally but the Irish workplace has not been extensively reviewed. According to Mark Stankard from the employee-screening firm RecruitSafe.ie that is based in Galway “Employee screening is a very big thing in the US, but it is becoming more and more the norm here too” (Costello, 2013, para. 22). The study done in the Irish workplace shows employers would be influenced by the evidence on social media of behaviour for instance discriminatory views and bad language when it comes to job candidates. William Fry Employment Report on Irish workplace indicates that 86% of employers said the use of bad language on a candidate’s social networks profile would affect their decision to that candidate. 82% of employment would negatively influenced by discriminatory views on a candidate social networks profile. While, 81% of employers said they would be negatively influenced by inappropriate pictures/videos on candidate’s social networks profile. William Fry Report (2013) stated “there is no Irish Legislation prohibiting an employer requesting login details”. In the US some businesses are demanding candidate’s password, Robert Collins who was required to give out his personal password in order to be considered for a job. This left him feeling violated of his privacy. The law in Maryland were later passed that prohibit employers from demanding personal social networks password, rather it should be voluntary. Although there is no specific legal restriction regarding the searching of candidate’s information online, because anything online is considered to be publically accessible. However, there are some equality legislation in place to ensure that when employer or recruiters carries such social networks checks on candidates, they do not interfere with candidate’s right to privacy, neither their decision on not to hire the individual should be based on information found on social networking profile.
This trend raises concerns about ethics and fairness when social networks are used as a tool to gather information about job candidate during screening process. The purpose of this research study was to explore the Irish perspective on the use of Social Networking Sites as a tool for employer in screening job candidates during the recruiting process and the ethical dilemma it can present. The findings from this study revealed that not only the international employers who are using social networking sites to screen candidates but the Irish employers are doing the same. However, the employment law attorney O’Flynn said employers are not talking about it and the only reported cased involved existing employees. The majority of respondents said they are aware of employer’s ability to find information about candidates on social networking sites. 30.3% of respondents approve the idea of screening effort in order to be considered for a job. 78.8% of respondents said no, they would not give out their social networking profile password just to be considered for a job.
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