Saturday, November 12, 2011

Using Social Media to Eliminate Potential Software Employees: A Bittersweet Solution


n times like these it is not really easy to be an HR manager. Challenges posed by cost cutting by offshore IT outsourcing clients and a supply of IT professionals which is more than the actual demand, lead IT recruiters to be stringent when it comes to choosing the right employee. HR managers have thus begun to look for ways in which they can eliminate professionals seeking employment rather than choosing the right employee. 

This paradigm shift has resulted in recruiters seeking more novel methods to eliminate prospective employees, and that includes social media. Using social media to eliminate rather than recruit potential employees has become a bittersweet topic for most recruiters. It is widely frowned upon by PR executives of companies while implicitly they do understand that prying into prospective IT employees private and personal lives may be one of the ways to make sure that a future employee would be an asset rather than a liability.

IT industry, as everyone knows, is one of the areas where attrition is so high that it leaves most HR executives with sleepless nights. Coupled with a reduced need for offshore IT professionals HR executives have little option but to eliminate potential recruits at the slightest perceived fault. Though certainly not a healthy HR tactic, using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter has become commonplace.

In fact, with the Euro destabilizing thanks to possible Greek and Italian defaults, offshore IT companies in India, China and other offshoring destinations have lost much of their European clients. Moreover, American IT companies are not doing that well either, which has led them to seek nearshore employees in Mexico, Costa Rica and other Latin American countries. With that in mind, HR executives have little option but to make sure that IT recruits they hire are at least promising, reliable and stable.

Facebook accounts of software professionals reveal personality traits and risk taking behaviours which may indicate professional stability of an individual. A Twitter account could possibly reveal random thoughts that may suggest unpleasant characteristics of future recruits. HR executives tend to believe that tweets and Facebook posts can reveal a lot about a person and it is quite true indeed.

When it comes to HR ethics and recruitment standards, prying into future recruits personal lives may not ring the right bell in most people. There is also the possibility of losing out on splendid recruits who may otherwise have a rather colorful personal life that isn't well suited to a profession like software industry.

When one lists down the pros and cons of using social media to eliminate recruits, one cannot possibly arrive at satisfactory conclusions. At the end of the day, recruiters must decide for themselves if they are right in prying into recruits personal lives, when it may actually have nothing to do with how they work as professionals in a workplace.  Using social media to eliminate potential employees continues to be one of those hot potatoes that one can’t drop in times of dire necessity.

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