Case 1: To Cyber-Vet or Not to Cyber-Vet: An Ethics Question for HRM

  • Peter HollandEmail author
  • Debora Jeske
Part of the Springer Texts in Business and Economics book series (STBE)


The rapid change in technology which is the hallmark of the workplace in the twenty-first century has given rise to unique challenges to Human Resource (HR) Management, not least in the frontline interaction with the outside world such as recruitment and selection. Applicant vetting may go beyond a reference check as technology now gives professionals access to much more information than ever before. For example, as prospective employees as well as applicants often have both personal and professional social network accounts, HR practice has to be expanded from what is possible to what is ethically and morally appropriate – especially when the law is one step behind these rapid changes. In other words, the amount and accuracy of the information that is submitted for the position by applicants is not the main issue anymore. An important concern regards the extent to which HR professionals and other individuals involved in recruitment and selection seek out information online to obtain further information via means (such as websites and social media) that cross both legitimate and ethical boundaries. The following overview and learning exercise provides an opportunity for students to learn and reflect on these issues. We conclude the sections with two lists, one for references cited in the overview and another that includes additional reading suggestions.


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Further Student Reading on Ethical and Moral Dilemmas in the HR Domain

  1. Acikgoz, Y., & Bergman, S. M. (2016). Social media and employee recruitment: Chasing the runaway bandwagon. In B. R. Landers & G. B. Schmidt (Eds.), Social media in employee selection and recruitment. Theory, practice, and current challenges (pp. 175–195). Cham: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Bazerman, M. H., & Sezer, O. (2016). Bounded awareness: Implications for ethical decision making. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 136, 95–105. Scholar
  3. Black, S. L., Stone, D. L., & Johnson, A. F. (2015). Use of social networking websites on applicants’ privacy. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 27, 115–159. Scholar
  4. Kang, S. K., DeCelles, K. A., Tilcsik, A., & Jun, S. (2016). Whitened résumés: Race and self-presentation in the labor market. Administrative Science Quarterly, 61(3), 469–502. Scholar
  5. Linehan, C., & O’Brien, E. (2016). From tell-tale signs to irreconcilable struggles: The value of emotion in exploring the ethical dilemmas of human resource professionals. Journal of Business Ethics, ePub., 141, 763. Scholar
  6. Schneider, T. J., Goffin, R. D., & Daljeet, K. N. (2015). “Give us your social networking site passwords”: Implications for personnel selection and personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 73, 78–83. Scholar
  7. Slovensky, R., & Ross, W. H. (2012). Should human resource managers use social media to screen job applicants? Managerial and legal issues in the USA. Info, 14, 55–69. Scholar
  8. Vaast, E., & Levina, N. (2016). Speaking as one but not speaking up: Dealing with new moral taint in an occupational online community. Information & Organization, 25(2), 73–96. Scholar
  9. Waring, R. L., & Buchanan, F. R. (2010). Social networking web sites: The legal and ethical aspects of pre-employment screening and employee surveillance. Journal of Human Resources Education, 4(2), 14–23.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.University College CorkCorkRepublic of Ireland

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