It’s 2014, which means that Facebook will be 10 years old this February. Since the site launched it has become standard procedure for companies to screen job candidates based on their social media profiles. A recent study, however, suggests that the practice may actually drive away qualified applicants who feel that their privacy has been compromised.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that when job applicants realize an organization has viewed their social media profile, they are less likely to perceive the hiring process as fair, regardless of whether they were offered the position. The practice may have serious repercussions for the hiring organization’s reputation and make applicants more inclined to resort to litigation, says Will Stoughton, a doctoral student in industrial psychology and lead author of the paper. The study was published in the Journal of Business and Psychology. “There could be all kinds of negative consequences for creating a selection process that is perceived as invasive and unfair,” says Lori Foster Thompson, a psychology professor at N.C. State and one of the paper’s co-authors. “When you think about the fact that top talent usually has a lot of choices as to where they want to go to work, it begins to really matter.”
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