How Digital Dirt is Changing Recruitment for Better or Worse

digital dirtFeatured in Escouter Magazine’ December Issue Escouter Magazine

It used to be that your resume was an employer’s view of the brand called; YOU. Nowadays your brand is digital and spreads like wildfire on the internet. Your presence is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and a ton of micro-sites from dating, gaming and a multitude of forums you have used over the years.

A CareerBuilder survey showed that 45% of employers use social networking sites to research candidates. 35% of those employers found content that caused them to not consider the candidate any further.

Here are a few recent examples of candidates that were not pursued:

  1. A hospital recruiter came across a young promising psychiatrist. Doing some digital digging after the first interview he came across pictures of her on Facebook partying with no shirt on. She was not pursued as a candidate.
  1. A large consulting firm came across an up and coming accountant on MySpace with 6 or 7 pictures of himself inebriated and with bottles of booze everywhere.  He was not called for an interview

Here are the key things recruiters & employers are looking for on-line in assessing candidate suitability.

The Dirty Dozen:

  1. Lies
  2. Provocative photos
  3. Using drugs or alcohol.
  4. Making discriminatory comments.
  5. Having a potty mouth.
  6. Bad-mouthing former employers or colleagues.
  7. Using emoticons and or too much short forms.
  8. Demonstrating poor communication skills.
  9. Acting cocky and unruly.
  10. Leaking confidential information on previous employers.
  11. Being a little too personal.
  12. Associating with the wrong crowd.

Though it’s illegal for recruiter or employers to discriminate against applicants because of any of these factors, some will do so, regardless. So is it ethically right to do so? What if  comprising pictures of the candidate aren’t what they seem? What if the naked pictures were taken by an irate boyfriend or someone who happened to be at a party where the candidate was?  Is it okay then? What’s reasonable? Is it up to us as recruiters or employers to decide? Are we breaching any employment laws by doing so?

For recruiters and employers it becomes an ethical question.  Do you or don’t you dig for digital dirt? Where do you draw the line? Tell me what your thoughts are.



About attackdefenddisrupt

An executive with over 20 years providing recruiting, talent management and IT solutions to corporations and government.
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2 Responses to How Digital Dirt is Changing Recruitment for Better or Worse

  1. Very timely information and sure to help a lot of people use better judgment in what they post.

  2. Really interesting discussion; I hadn’t thought about it from an ethical perspective before. But I will say that is a really easy way to see someone’s social media profiles from within Gmail 🙂

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