Cybervetting might be the reason you weren’t hired

Social media is where we express who we are and share parts of our lives; but for recruiters, your online presence is a stop in their screening process to determine whether you’re a qualified candidate. A new analysis from North Carolina State University says there isn’t any evidence that so-called cybervetting helps organizations find the best candidate; on the contrary, cybervetting can be seen as a discriminatory hiring practice.

Many hiring agents use cybervetting as risk-management screening to avoid any red flags or behavior the organization deems unprofessional—including posts of the candidate drinking, using substances, being overtly sexual, using profanity, or even criticizing an employer.

The invasive practice can potentially discriminate against candidates based on their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or just lifestyle. A 2018 survey by CareerBuilder found that 70% of employers research candidates’ social media presence, and 57% of employers have found content that caused them not to hire candidates.

Cybervetting might be the reason you weren’t hired

“Our analysis of the research on cybervetting finds that these presumed benefits are unclear—and it is increasingly apparent that cybervetting creates opportunities for biases to influence the hiring process,” wrote Annika Wilcox, a postdoctoral researcher.

While researchers suggest that professional associations and government must take action to hold organizations accountable for “better practices” for cybervetting, they ultimately conclude that it is up to the organizations using cybervetting to self-regulate to prevent bias by developing practices and policies.

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