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The Unethical Side of Cyber Vetting

Cyber vetting is the process of conducting a background check on an applicant beyond their submitted resume using digital channels such as social media platforms.

Such a check can allow an employer to understand what the candidate’s habits and lifestyle look like and whether they would be the right fit for their organization. However, the applicant is left in the dark as he or she will never know if an employer ran a check on them.

What is the Problem?

Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives, there is little information that is completely private. Users now display their life completely on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. When employers go through such intimate details about an applicant without your knowledge, this is a big invasion of their privacy and is considered highly unethical.

Employers often see red flags with content that promotes substance abuse, salacious posts, or negative commentary about their employers. Some might even notice the writing skills.

Along with that basing unemployment decisions on the bias of these profiles can be extremely wrong as many users create an alternate perception of their personality on these platforms for the public eye.

What is the Solution?

The answer is very simple. Companies must work to incorporate transparency and consent in all their practices.

If and when a company does decide to use cyber vetting, they should take written consent from the applicant to keep everyone in the loop about the process. Along with that, if any questionable material is found through this process, a dialogue should be initiated between the employer and the candidate rather than developing a judgment upfront without context.

From most applicants’ perspectives and also depending on the role, many have become more conscious about what they post and take extra steps to create a more professionally acceptable online persona.

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