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Published 12 July 2012 06:17, Updated 13 July 2012 05:32
Businesses are increasingly trawling social media sites to vet job candidates, but new research shows the strategy can easily backfire.
According to a North Carolina State University study, prospective candidates for jobs may end up rejecting offers from an employer if they discover their social media profiles have been screened as part of the hiring process.
Employers may also find they are turning down better candidates based on something they see on Facebook or Google, the study’s author, NCSU doctorial candidate in industrial and organisational psychology Will Stoughton says.
Under the study, Stoughton and co-authors Lori Foster Thompson and Adam Meade had 175 students apply for a fictitious job and later told them they were screened for the position using searches of websites, such as Facebook and Google.
According to ScienceDaily, the students said they had a poorer view of the organisation at which they’d applied for the job and were less likely to accept an employment offer after they were informed social media screening had been used.
Stoughton also says that the practice can have a negative effect on existing employees whose trust in their employer may be undermined if they find out it is poking around personal webpages.
“By [screening on social media], you assume the applicants that organisations end up choosing are more conscientious, but no studies show that these individuals are any better,” ScienceDaily quotes Stoughton as saying.
“If organisations are going to screen social network websites ... they should weight the possible benefits with its costs.”