My Photo

« DAAAAAmn...That Job Description of Yours is Weak... | Main | Dude, I'm Digital, But You Can't Ask Me to Only Use Email to Communicate With You... »

September 28, 2009

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8345275cf69e20120a5fbc128970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Googling Candidates: The Trenches Say You Can't Afford NOT To....:

Comments

Kerry

Here's the problem I see:

I read that guy's statement, and I know I've worked places where there are people who would make that exact same statement about a candidate. And they'd be referring to his sexual orientation, or his donations to a pro-choice cause, or the fact that he's an atheist, or any number of other things that are protected classes (and in many midwestern states, including mine, sexual orientation is a protected class.

So maybe what they found is something that truly relates to the job...like pictures of him stealing from his last employer, or tweets about how he falsified the resume. But when I hear things like "didn't fit into our value system," that's a bit of a red flag for me.

I don't have a clue what hospital this was, or what your SVP meant by his statement. But it sounds ominous to me, and it just reinforces my belief that people are using these sites to weed out candidates based on characteristics that we've already decided are irrelevant (so much so that we've passed laws to protect them). I think the legal risk is probably minimal when they do this...but it's still wrong.

B.R.

In Canada, the recent case law states that companies can utilize the internet as a way to understand more about the candidates they are screening, so long as it is reasonable. The term reasonable is broad...but ideally you are not basing your hiring decision on a grad weekend photo from 10 years ago.

tlcolson

The hair at the back of my neck stands up when I read this: "Because it was a high level placement, we took a look across the social media platforms and ended up finding information that showed the candidate did not fit our value system, especially what we require of our leaders. "

It would SO depend on what exactly one found - "values" can be a completely subjective set of ideas.

I am, in principle, against trolling social media sites in re candidate backgrounds. Unless there are strict guidelines in place for the person doing the trolling, (and wow, do I hate the word "trolling" - but it fits) I think we are looking at another way to discriminate, in a world where there's still so much of this happening that we are having great national debates about the subject.

If we FIND our candidates on SM sites, the information is there for the taking, and the candidate knows the hiring manager or HR dept is seeing postings, tweets etc. but when we go hunting for it... well, we seem to be hunting for trouble.

And this idea of companies demanding access to facebook accounts as part of the hiring process... demanding? really? (I've seen the language in some of the releases - wow.)

The future will be that we get sanitized versions of candidates lives if we continue to demand "perfect employees" - and we will continue to be disappointed.

I'd like to live in a world where, as long as I'm not breaking the law, I can be who I am, and not who someone wants me to be. Because, well, you may not agree with me or my "values", but I'm a pretty cool person, a very talented HR and Safety professional, and an astute businessperson.

HR Consultant

Wow! I am so surprised at these comments! Don't employers check references, especially the ones NOT listed by the applicant? I couldn't imagine a significant hire without 'asking around' in the industry about the candidate. How is this different? If you look at turnover, it's rarely about technical skills and mostly about cultural fit. This is a great opportunity to see who a candidate really is. Keep in mind you only see information in these forums that the candidate chooses to make public... Since we don't know what he meant by "values," we shouldn't always assume the worst.

Jennie

"I'm talking about a part of her life that she was clearly hiding in the interview process."

What could that possibly be? There's huge swaths of my life that I don't share with my employer, because it won't affect my performance. Unless she's hiding a criminal past, which usually comes out in a background check, that guy had no reason to go there, and make a call that could be seen the way all of us are seeing it right now.

Can you shed some light, Kris? Surely you asked for more details ...

Kerry

HR Consultant, I do check references. But I don't ask those references what the candidate's religion is, or what her sexual orientation is, or whether she went to one of those Tea Party demonstration.

If I pull up her Facebook profile, though, I'm likely to find out all of those things. If you google someone's name, you find out about every political contribution they've made, organizations they've joined, petitions they've signed, people they've dated...all sorts of stuff that has nothing to do with work.

References don't give you that sort of dirt, and there's a good reason for that. It's not relevant.

Kris Dunn

Hi Gang -

It's an interesting conversation, and you all bring up really, really good points.

So where am I? Feel like I'm stuck in the middle. First up, I know I can't afford not to know everything I can about a final candidate. With that in mind, I would hope that through hours of conversations, I know enough about what makes a candidate tick that it would take something very, very surprising for me to pull away from the candidate.

Another interesting point is the HR pro in question. When I think about using social media in this regard, I'm going to have faith in the HR pro to screen what truly is a conflict and what isn't for the position in question. Orientation, political affiliation and other hot buttons would not make me turn away from a good candidate.

The interesting question is on the values piece. We've got a obligation to match candidates with the values of our organizations (legally) and make the best match possible. If you feel compelled to veto the candidate that was golden along the lines of what Kerry mentions, then it's possible you're working for the wrong organization.

Still, the prospect of making the right match based on all the information fascinates me. Rock and a hard place for the HR pros out there. To say you shouldn't look isn't realistic for most of us. To veto candidates for shaky reasons robs you of a lot of talent.

Tough spot. It's a hard knock life in HR. Classic stand up spot for the profession.

KD

H R Manager

I was recruiting a management level position and thought I had done all the necessary background checks, reference checks, etc. and didn't need to do a google or SM search . . . and then my CEO did a search on the candidate we were getting ready to make an offer on and found a link between them and child pornography. My credibility took a HUGE hit and I learned a valuable lesson: make damn sure you check a candidate by every means necessary because some things are not always as they appear.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Subscribe!!!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner