Since the arrival of Social Media, social media and hiring practices have been debated. The HR world has been a-buzz about Social media and its virtue or lack there of on impacting a hiring decision. Some employers believe that utilizing social media screening clouds judgement and allows subjectivity to be introduced to the hiring process. Others believe that social media screening allows an employer to get a more complete picture of the type of person they are hiring to make a better holistic decision.
See also: 5 Ways Social Media Has Changed HR
The questions surrounding this topic often touch on a larger more meaningful topic. The Employee/Employer relationship. More importantly, from a business owner perspective, what relationship is most profitable for the business? We will find as many answers as people who walk this planet to this question.
Is a happy employee more productive than an unhappy employee? If yes, than could we not say that employers should attempt to hire an employee who is generally happier for productivity’s sake? If so, are we allowing personality to influence our decision to hire? How does an employer measure how happy an employee is? That’s pretty hard to objectively evaluate. But employers attempt to measure things like this every day, and for good reason. They are hiring a person. Not a lifeless means to an end. Social media is a great new tool which can help round out the personal side of an employee and help employers make more informed decisions.
Pure Objectivity Is Not Possible In Any Relationship
Sure screening a potential employee’s social media accounts in a purely objective manner in order to evaluate their capability to produce as an employee may be impossible. So is attempting to do the same thing during an interview. Sorry, but you don’t have the ability to disconnect your brain from your past life experiences while evaluating a person. However; why would we want to?
Many people believe that witnessing your employees interact on social media is a great way to see the kind of person they really are. Not just while trying to manage their impression their boss has of them at work. An employee while at work can actively attempt to manage the impression their boss has of them.. especially when looking at an interview scenario for example. (It is very common for employers to look at social during hiring process). Having a more accurate idea of the kind of person you are looking at doesn’t only benefit the employer, it actually helps an employee avoid getting hired by a company where they will have a very hard time adapting to the culture.
While employees have freedom to do and say whatever they want on social media, employers have the same freedom to observe, and there is great reason to. Some benefits for job screening include: seeing if they present themselves professionally, if they are well rounded individuals, if they are a good fit for company culture, verify resume items, observe comm skills, and many others…
Employers and Employees are people working with people after all. People are much more than a simple distillation of the product they produce for the company. Employees are not robots, and employers are not command prompts. The human element cannot (and should not) be mitigated. We are catalysts, relaters, social changers, culture shapers, emotional, and many things that are harder to measure than work output. And yes, these things have a strong impact on a business. What an employee does on social media could assist in making a better decision relating to if the person is a good fit for their culture/company. Wise employers consider all things when making a hiring decision. Short or long term. The tangible and intangibles.
A New Dance At the Same Party
Sure, you may run into something you don’t agree with on a personal level while browsing their social media, but this has been the challenge for day to day face to face interactions for the past centuries between employers and employees.
We respect employers attempting to be completely objective when evaluating employee performance and avoiding social media, but you have to acknowledge that employers have always been faced with separating employee personal life and workplace life. Social media is just a new dance at the same party.
See also: Social Media and HR Best practices