This week a brief Twitter debate about hiring practices sparked the idea for this post. One of the concepts I teach the companies I work with is the concept of the social company, and the ethics that go into becoming a truly social company. When you can use social media to find out anything about anyone, where do you draw the line?
One of my Twitter connections wanted to spark a discussion on unique hiring practices. His tweet about doing Spouse Interviews for new hires to find out about their personal lives happened to catch my eye, and I felt compelled to reply. Setting aside the legal ramifications of this practice, the ethical ramifications loom large to me. Everyone deserves to be able to separate work and life.
We’re in an age of dwindling privacy; of purposeful transparency and all of the ramifications of that lying under the surface as we march forward online playing our games, creating things, listening to music or watching movies, blogging, connecting to brands and people, and connecting to friends.
Even as I love the optimistic potential of the new technology landscape for health, connection, education, creativity and more, I am concerned with the divergence between that optimism and the positive ramifications of these technologies and the blurred ethical lines from people in positions of power. It’s not OK for an employer to require a Facebook password anymore than invading a potential employees life with a spousal interview is (and don’t get me started on the lack of understanding of the internet and these technologies in government that lead us to things like CISPA).
When hiring and looking to verify education, experience or other facts online, the same rules apply there as in the real world. It’s just that simple. This causes some interesting issues in an age where people can be careless with their privacy – posting public photos of their weekend warrior lifestyle or airing their private opinions in a way that becomes public (Facebook posts have led to several firings in recent years, and have become a common cause of divorces and other problems).
I’d love to hear from human resource managers, CEOs and others out there who are struggling with this new fire hose of information about potential employees at all levels. What kind of ethical decisions is this introducing into your company that you didn’t face before? Have you put policies in place to guide folks through this aspect of hiring in a tech age? Do you move forward assuming that if the person didn’t remember to set a privacy setting it “makes it ok” to use that info to make a decision? I’d love to get a dialogue going about this with you.
To spark your discussion, below is the conversation I had on Twitter that got my brain turning about this in more depth than just advising clients that professional social media sites like LinkedIn and professional blogs were great places for vetting employees but that personal social media sites are a touchier area.
We hope to see you at our next SMBNH on December 10, 2010! Online signup closes on December 9, 2010.
You can read what Social Media Breakfast NH is all about, how Leslie started it many moons ago and who the awesome people on the SMBNH team are who make these breakfasts possible, like co-organizer Kevin, by heading over to the official blog and reading our About SMBNH page. There is also a mailing list in the side bar there – signing up means you will hear about these events first!
The Theme for December 2010’s Social Media Breakfast NH is Hire 2.0
We’ll be discussing how recruiters and human resources professionals are using the social web to find, vet and hire new employees, and how companies and job seekers can use these tools to their advantage to make their job search reach farther than it ever has before, become more hireable, and fix problems on social sites that may be preventing an employee from getting hired or a company from being seen as a desireable place to work (that’s right businesses – this is a two way street these days).
8:30 – 9:00 AM Networking and Breakfast
9:00 – 9:05 Opening Remarks by SMBNH Founder Leslie Poston
9:05 – 9:10 Sponsor Remarks by Steve Butzel, Assistant Director, Portsmouth Public Library
9:10 – 9:25 Andrew White, Executive Recruiter, MRI
9:25 – 9:55 Speaker, TBC, Human Resources
9:55 – 10:10 David Gallant, Hubspot
10:10 – 10:30 Group Q&A with all speakers at the front to field questions
We’re looking to make this breakfast something you can use to start your hiring practices and your job searches off on the right foot in 2011 and get you ahead of the curve.
We’d like to thank our venue sponsor, the Portsmouth Public Library.
Mission: Portsmouth Public Library is a gateway to reading, information, culture, community activities, and self-directed learning. It serves those who want to read, to learn, or to connect with our community and our cultural heritage. The library’s mission is one of sharing and it strengthens the community.
We’re looking forward to having them host us in December!
Library on Twitter @portsmouthlibnh
Facebook them at facebook.com/pplnh
Flickr connect via flickr.com/photos/portslib
Special thanks to Steve Butzel, Assistant Director, for making it happen.
Note: The Library is not open for regular business before 9AM, they are making a special exception to open their doors early for SMBNH attendees only.
Tell your fellow NH VIPs that we’re looking for YOU to help make SMBNH 2011 amazing:
We’re looking for your help to direct the topics of the next year’s Social Media Breakfast NH! Won’t you fill out this quick form letting us know what you want to hear about for SMBNH 2011?
We’re also adding to our speaking roster for 2011 – have you always wanted your 15 minutes to share your knowledge with your SMBNH peers? Now is your chance! Tell us all about you and how you can help us increase our brain power at an SMBNH in 2011 on this form.
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By Email (Leslie)
Updates and changes to this event, including confirmed speakers not yet listed, can be found on the blog.