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Should human resource managers use social media to screen job applicants? Managerial and legal issues in the USA

Ross Slovensky (Department of Management, University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA)
William H. Ross (Department of Management, University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA)

info

ISSN: 1463-6697

Article publication date: 20 January 2012

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the present paper is to describe managerial and US legal issues associated with using social networking web sites (SNWs) such as Facebook for personnel selection. Managers must consider the benefits and concerns that using such information presents.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper identifies issues based on the academic literature, theoretical concepts, and current managerial and legal developments as reported in the popular and business press.

Findings

Using SNWs to screen applicants offers benefits to organizations in the form of gaining a large amount of information about applicants, which may be used to supplement other information (e.g. a resume). It may also help a firm address “negligent hiring” legal concerns. However, other legal considerations as well as issues pertaining to information accuracy, privacy, and justice argue against using such information.

Research limitations/implications

Throughout the paper, topics are raised which may guide future research.

Practical implications

By recognizing both the advantages and disadvantages of using SNW information for applicant screening, managers can make an informed decision as to whether they wish to use this screening method; if so, managers can devise policies that provide the firm with appropriate information while respecting applicant privacy, and complying with US legal and ethical expectations.

Originality/value

While much has been written about SNWs, little has been written from an academic perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of accessing applicants' SNWs. The present paper reviews the literature from a variety of disciplines and identifies important issues for researchers and managers.

Keywords

Citation

Slovensky, R. and Ross, W.H. (2012), "Should human resource managers use social media to screen job applicants? Managerial and legal issues in the USA", info, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 55-69. https://doi.org/10.1108/14636691211196941

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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