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Use of Social Networking Websites on Applicants’ Privacy

Abstract

Organizations are increasingly using social networking websites (SNS) in the hiring process because they want to maximize dependable role behavior, ensure applicants are trustworthy, and avoid negligent hiring lawsuits. However, some analysts argue that these practices have the potential to invade applicants’ privacy because they gather personal data that were originally intended for family and friends, or collect information that is not job related (e.g., off duty behavior, membership in protected classes) (Gross & Acquisti, 2005; Tabibi, 2012). Despite the growing use of SNS data in the selection process, little theory or research has examined applicants’ reactions to these practices. Thus, we used a model of privacy (Stone & Stone, 1990) to explain the factors that affect applicants’ perceptions of invasion of privacy when SNS data are used in the hiring process. We also made minor additions to the model to fit the SNS context. The privacy model suggests that several information, procedural, sociocultural, and individual factors influence applicants’ reactions, and we offer hypotheses based on the model to guide future research. We also consider the implications for establishing fair information policies, and balancing the needs of the organization for information against applicants’ rights to privacy.

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Black, S.L., Stone, D.L. & Johnson, A.F. Use of Social Networking Websites on Applicants’ Privacy. Employ Respons Rights J 27, 115–159 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10672-014-9245-2

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Keywords

  • Social networking
  • Social media
  • Privacy
  • Selection
  • Stigma