facebookAs an unabashed Wolfpack fan, I already know a lot of good things come out of North Carolina State University, but now I have a reason to share them on Actively Listening!

Researchers at NC State have discovered that, in two separate studies, job applicants that discovered an organization viewed their social media profile as part of the hiring process were less likely to perceive the hiring process as fair. In fact, they may even be more likely to sue the company if they believe they were unfairly overlooked for a position.

“…the participants who were told that their social media profile had been screened formed negative opinions about the hiring organization regardless of whether they had received a job offer. They also reported that they would be more likely to sue an organization if they found its hiring practices to be unjust.”

This is definitely a major consideration for employers as more and more hiring managers start poking around applicants’ Facebook profiles and Twitter streams. While unemployment is running high, there might not be much in the way of consequences, but once talented employees become harder to find, you may find your pre-screening backfires.

Companies using social media to screen applicants should start considering guidelines as to how far they dig, what information is used in the hiring process, and whether an applicant is given advance notice–or at least informed that their social media activities were a part of the hiring process.

And, just like anything in reputation management, don’t think you can just do this covertly and not get found out. Eventually, everyone gets found out!

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