Not long ago the Internet and social networks were frequently used by Human Resources managers as databases to be widely consulted. Now HR managers are showing signs of growing distrust of these sites as information sources.

Social networks are being used less and less during the recruitment process to obtain information on candidates. These are the findings of a study carried out by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), which surveyed over 500 HR professionals worldwide. Given the uncertainties, and the inherent risks, HR managers have become somewhat scepticalof these tools. The major cause for reservation, cited by over 65% of the HR professionals polled, is the confidentiality of the data.

Information obtained from social networks: illegal and often untrue

When looking for information on a candidate, there is a high risk that some of the data collected might be seen as confidential (age, religion, skin colour and so on). Another aspect, mentioned by nearly 50%, is the reliability of the source. In fact, as a general rule, it’s quite impossible to verify the source. If information cannot be checked, then it cannot be used as a criterion for a recruitment decision. This is even more true as the information provided on such sites rarely has much to do with a person’s actual work capabilities.  

Companies are using social networks less and less for HR purposes

This last point is in fact the third major drawback cited by HR professionals, who are less than enthusiastic about the idea of assessing an individual’s abilities based on his/her social activity.  Even more surprising is the fact that only 26 of the companies surveyed use online search engines when undertaking recruitment research. It’s clear that these trends are reinforcing each other. When the previous SHRM study was carried out only 45% of those polled admitted to having any worries over the legal issues inherent in this type of research. To sum up, there seems to be a tendency for companies to back away from the social networks and focus on information they see as reliable.