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OFF YOUR FACE ON FACEBOOK?

First some background information:



There are two candidates. We will call them: Candidate 1 and Candidate 2. They are both
really good applicants so we want to check their Facebook pages for more information
about who they are in real (private) life. Candidate 1 seems to be a very sociable and
well-travelled person, looking at her posts and pictures. When we look at the Facebook
page of candidate 2 (which is the slightly better candidate because she already has some
work experience) we see some pictures of her at parties with precious few clothes on,
and two pictures where she enjoys what undoubtedly looks like a line of cocaine. It must
be said that this information is accessed not through a public Facebook profile but
through the information only available for insiders.

The job requirement is that they want a very reliable, meticulous work attitude, but also
good social skills to manage the different relations between the clinics, approving
authorities, and various departments in the company. Both candidates meet the
requirements.

A comparison of the two candidates:

Candidate 1: public Facebook page:
1. Her Facebook posts and pictures show that she is a very social person. Social
skills are very important for the job so this would make her suitable for the
function. But pictures and posts on Facebook may not show what the person is
really like. You can put anything on Facebook, but if the girls seems very sociable,
it doesnt mean that she actually is.
2. She just got out of college so she might not have work experience yet. The clinical
tests of the drugs are very important (because they state that it could become the
next blockbuster drug for the company) so you might want to hire someone with
enough experience to do the job.

Candidate 2: non-public Facebook page:
1. She doesnt give a good impression on Facebook, but you dont know how long
ago those pictures were taken. Maybe the pictures were taken in her wild college
years and now she had become a normal person who is serious about her work.
So we should look at the dates of those pictures and then judge.
2. Undoubtedly looks like a line of cocaine but are we 100% sure?
3. If it actually is a line of cocaine we should not hire her, because the job involves
doing clinical drug tesing. It is an important job, which will affect the whole
company. So you will need someone you can trust.
4. A positive point about her is that she already has some work experience. Is it
work experience in the same branch? And why or how did she leave? If she did a
good job at her previous job, I think she can be trusted.

MAIN ETHICAL ISSUES

- One ethical issue is that the manager enters the private Facebook of Candidate 2.
This is an invasion of her privacy. You can only see her personal information
when you are Facebook friends with her. The manager is not but her friend, so
she uses her friends account to check the Facebook page of Candidate 2.
- Another ethical issue is that they are looking for a new team member to assist
them with the clinical tests of what could become the next blockbuster drug for
the company. It affects the whole company and it is about a blockbuster drug,
which means that it is a very popular drug. The ethical question is here: Is the
social behaviour of Candidate 2 relevant for her function?
- The next ethical issue is the question if they should mix the girls personal lives
with their working lives. Is that fair and relevant?
- Is it fair to compare the two girls on their Facebook pages? Because the one might
show more personal information than the other, so you cant really make a good
judgement.
- One can also say that the information which can publicly be found on the
Facebook page of candidate 1 may not resemble the whole truth. Privacy settings
can be set in such a way that certain information about the candidate can only be
viewed by a select type of people (friends, family, friends and friends of friends
etc).
- Furthermore, is it ethically right to use a social media site like Facebook to decide
on such a serious manner?


RELEVANT FOR CLASS:

Team 2 defends the position that:
Using Facebook and other forms of social media in recruitment in unethical.

Arguments:

1. It is ethical to look at the Facebook page of a applicant for the job when it is a
public account. (As is the case with Candidate 1). But when a person has a private
account, you should not be allowed to look at that page. Candidate 2 has a private
Facebook page and the manager wants to look at the page, but she cant because
shes not friends on Facebook with the candidate. Then she sees that her
colleague is friends with her and she asks if she can use her Facebook account to
look at the Facebook page of Candidate 2. This is invasion of the girls privacy and
it is not ethically right.

2. This job where AllCure Pharmaceuticals is recruiting for, is a very important one.
You will assist your team members with the clinical tests of what could become a
very popular drug. So it affects the whole company as well as part of the society.
You should not base your final conclusion about the applicants on their Facebook
pages. Because it is not reliable. (You can put everything on Facebook if you want,
it does not mean that it gives a good impression of a person.)

3. Another reason why you should not use Facebook to make your definite decision
about the applicants is that it is not fair to compare them just looking at
Facebook. Because you can put anything on Facebook that you want. That doesnt
mean that it gives a good impression of the person you are. You cant make a
judgement about a person just looking at their posts and pictures.
4. They always say that you must not mix your working life with your personal life.
They should do the same in this case. When you look at someones Facebook
page, you will probably only find personal information of that person. You should
not use this information to make the decision if she would be right for the job.
Personal life can be completely different than professional life.

5. In a study of the University of Dayton, Anitoch College, Sinclair Community
College and Wittenberg Univeristy revealed that: many students tended to draw
sharp lines between their personal lives and their professional faces. Facebook
is a strictly personal matter, and many users admitted to misrepresenting
themselvesor to joining groups that do not accurately depict who I am or want
to befor sake of humor or social gain.
1


6. Although no laws currently govern Facebook, employers using it to screen
candidates run the risk of violating other laws, including federal Fair Credit
Reporting Act (FCRA) and discrimination laws. The FCRA requires employers to
notify job applicants and obtain their consent before conducting a background
check,


7. Employers could also make judgments about a candidate based on too little or
false information.


Using Facebook and other forms of social media in recruitment in ethical.
a. = counterarguments

1. A good reason to use Facebook is the image one might have in their personal life
and as a company we do not want to be connected to the image of this person. As
stated before, Facebook is private; is there any better way to get know
someone?
a. No, one might say this is the case but as with the applicant number two,
the Facebook page was closed and private. When being accepted as a
member of our team, our company, certain obligations can be asked of this
person. In this modern age of day it is not unethical to ask the people you
hire (and pay!) for a good social media policy. In combination with HRM
this can be set up with the law and nobody has to be hurt.
2. When an employer uses Facebook as a means for employment screening, they are
practicing the utilitarian approach of ethics, which states that the ethical
corporate action is the one that produces the greatest good and does the least
harm for all who are affectedcustomers, employees, shareholders, the
community and the environment.... Employers do not care if they invade your
privacy during their hiring search as long as it is serving the greater good by
hiring superior employees.

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http://www.career.umn.edu/pdf/NACE_Facebook_Article_September_2010.pdf

a. When looking at this issue through the glasses of the utilitarian view it is
ethical, but in this day and age the utilitarian view does not apply. It can be
said that if one looks at this issue through the

3. In a position of this magnitude one must understand that all bridges which can be
stepped over should be taken because we can not afford a scandal of these kind of
proportions.
a. This is a good point, but with good contact and being fair towards each
other problems like this can be solved.

4. In the case we can see that the closed Facebook candidate used drugs and posted
these pictures on a public website for her friends to see. Not looking at the fact
that this thing is on Facebook, but we at AllCure Pharmaceuticals do not want
drug users aboard in the team.
a. Obviously the other girl (which was well-travelled) may have used other
narcotics and may be on meth or heroin but does not post this on her
(SEMI!)-public Facebook account.

5. This job where AllCure Pharmaceuticals is recruiting for, is a very important one.
You will assist your team members with the clinical tests of what could become a
very popular drug. So it affects the whole company as well as part of the society.
If someone shows behaviour like candidate 2 it might affect the whole company if
clients find out.
a. Yeah, this is true but the information on facebook is not reliable because it
only shows the fun moments in your life. A few parties may result in an
extensive collection of photographs so this might give a wrong image.

6. Everyone can control what is posted on Facebook, or edit privacy settings, so it is
the candidates own fault to put pictures on Facebook where she wears almost no
clothes and where she uses cocaine, which is illegal anyway.