CareerBuilder and Social Media

‘Tis the season — well, the week, because of the SHRM conference — for human resources vendors to issue press releases. Peopleclick, for example, is talking about its social media capablities; Personified is too. For Kenexa, it’s issuing PRs about interview questions. And Monster’s talking up its “customizable talent management suite.”

CareerBuilder, meanwhile, is talking about its “Applicant Explorer” so that recruiters looking through the resume database can get easy access to information about the candidate on social media sites, blogs, news sites, and discussion groups.

Explorer isn’t all new. CareerBuilder has had it in beta since February. But its wider use (CareerBuilder has expanded Explorer to most all of its customers over the last two weeks), in my view, continues to make me ponder the role of people’s personal lives in hiring decisions. I’ve talked about these issues with Ryan Estis and Raghav Singh, and later with Angela Guidroz of Sodexo.

With CareerBuilder making more of that information fewer clicks away, I’m more than ever curious about what role the information that recruiters and managers find on Facebook and elsewhere will have on their screening — even information that’s perfectly legal to know and perfectly legal to use as a factor in a hiring decision. 

There isn’t something wrong with Applicant Explorer, or wrong with a manager or recruiter finding out more information than what’s on a resume about a prospect. On the contrary, it’s usually a good thing if an employer can access speeches, news articles, press releases, and so on about a candidate.

But many of the posts generated by my Facebook friends offer more information then I ever wanted to know (like someone I haven’t spoken with in years posting about her reproductive challenges). I wonder if enough candidates are asking themselves, “do employers need to know all this?”

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