The Hunt for Red Flags: Human Resource Perspectives on Internet-based Job Candidate Screening

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Description: This study uses qualitative interviews with 31 human resource professionals to examine how they weigh the usefulness as well as the discriminatory potential of evaluating job candidates based on information obtained from the Internet. Results show that most HR professionals value social media and online search data, though some question its accuracy and usefulness. The majority recognize that because online information emphasizes personal and ascribed traits, it can potentially result in hiring discrimination. They use four strategies to cope with this discriminatory potential. Two strategies downplay the importance of online information by constructing it as the responsibility of individual job candidates and its role in hiring as marginal. Two other tactics involve guarding against discrimination, but in individualized and rather passive and post-hoc ways. Findings contribute to our knowledge of the organizational and labor market dynamics that contribute to inequality in the face of exogenous technological change and field-level uncertainty.

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