I read this blog today, which discusses a proposed law in Germany where an employer would not be allowed to check the Facebook page of a prospective employee. Centered on their laws created to maintain people’s privacy, which are very rigorous, my mind immediately began to think about how this might affect my world. Since our software connects employers with prospective employees, are we affected if this law gets passed?
After the smoke cleared (i.e. the coffee kicked in) and I assured myself that we are still in compliance with the privacy laws of even the most demanding countries, such as France and Germany, the past recruiter in me reared its (ugly) head.
As a hiring manager, does a person’s private life have a direct impact on one’s ability to do their job? Clearly there are some cases where this is a definitive YES, but what about the things that one can glean from another based on their Facebook entries?
I decided to scan posts from my friends on Facebook and see if anything would trigger me to think that perhaps they would not be worthy to be hired.
Post 1: “WOW! How fresh air will help you sleep & stay asleep ALL night will do! 1st time in a long time I didn’t get up. Don’t even remember rolling over or moving!!! Bring on fall weather!!!”
Gut response: Sounds like she doesn’t typically get a good night’s sleep and might be too tired during the day to work. NOT HIRED.
Reality check: Since I know this person, I also know she’s 8 months pregnant, so a good night sleep has been hard to come by lately. And she’s amazing…an over-achiever with strong family ties and good work ethic. She’s also my cousin. HIRED.
Post 2: “I LOOOOOVE this time of year!! Everywhere you go the smell of roasting chile is in the air!! Chile season is the best!! I need to drive up to Hatch and stock up!”
Gut response: Looks like a she has a lot of energy and is a happy person. Acceptable writing skills, and as a bonus she can get to Hatch, NM and grab me some awesome chile. HIRED.
Reality check: Again, since I know this person, I know she’s made some bad decisions throughout the years, and while she is trying to turn things around, she has some maturing left to do before I would bring her on board. NOT HIRED.
So while the blogs out there are contesting the validity of the law, whether it would be enforceable, and whether or not it makes sense, I say go ahead and pass the law if you want to. If I were still a recruiter I wouldn’t be relying on Facebook to make my hiring decisions anyway!
What do you think?