Social Networking Tools used as hiring pre screening tools.

While in Baltimore for ACRL I met with one of my sales reps. We had never had an opoortunity to meet as all our business to that point had been managed over the phone and by email. His company was in Washington DC, and he asked if he could meet me in Baltimore.

We started chatting about social networking tools and how they've caught on with young people and are being used many times without discretion.

Interestingly, he told me his HR people now check Facebook and My Space and use it as a type of pre screening tool for potential applicants. He gave me two examples of how they found applicants and chose NOT to interview them because of what they found.

In the first instance it was a young woman who worked for a competitor company and this information was NOT on her resume. The decision was made NOT to interview her because the company was concerned that she was interviewing to be a mole and take back competitive intelligence to her current employer. Whether this was an accurate perception or not, the HR department along with the hiring manager decided against bringing her into their building.

The second was a young woman who turned out to be ... um... how shall I say it...a "working girl" who used My Space as a tool to keep potential clients up to date on where she "worked" and what "services" she provided. Now the lads - and they were all "lads" *really* wanted HR to bring her in for a check... but knowing how litigious the US is about ANYTHING, it was decided to NOT even go down that road.

This causes me to wonder about many things. We in the Federal Government have a very careful proscribed process for hiring with the intent of being fair to all applicants. We theoretically can't go down this road. BUT... the implications sure are strong.

What about in not for profits and other private sector organizations around Ottawa. Does anyone have other similar stories?
And frankly, proscribed hiring or not, wouldn't YOU be tempted to check out My Space or Facebook and see if your potential candidate was "out there" in a way you personally or professionally thought was not quite.... "on?" And is that a fair way to judge a potential candidate?

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