Friday, December 17, 2010

Limits of Online Recruitment

Internet is a reality. Blogs are now a part of business. People spend their productive work time in 2.0 applications and are getting money for it. I get it: the world has changed, but how far can we go?

I had a very interesting chat this week with Miguel Mangas, Online Marketing Director for Spain and Portugal at Meetic. Meetic is a dating site. One of those... "join thousands of singles looking for love today". Noble cause and I am sure many people did find someone to spend an evening together, a couple of months or an entire life. However, what Miguel is trying to assess now is opportunities of this web service for recruitment.

The idea is that this tool can work for fresh graduates from universities in the initial steps of their careers. Before you start using the site, you have to complete a 90-question questionnaire, which translates into your psychological profile, which is shared with you free of charge. Unlike the assessments that you go through when entering a company, it is likely that you will be more sincere and honest with yourself answering the questions in hope that this will help you meet your other half. Hence, the validity rates are high. Drawing on other personal information, such as education, areas of interest and maybe current company or at least industry, it is possible to concoct an aggregated job candidate profile, which then can be shared with recruiters.

This has not been launched yet, and my question to Miguel was whether any data privacy laws could be violated. The conversation turned onto a slippery road, and I posed another challenge: how would a person feel if s/he is selected for the job, but then every day the recruiter (whoever that might be) or even the line manager are aware of that person's "romantic profile". The third question I asked was about the company image if it resorts to such search techniques and who actually would be most interested to use this service.

That was a conversation over a glass of gin&tonic and obviously we were just swapping ideas and chatting, but the problems remains on a larger scale: how sure can we be that our personal information is not shared across the web with anyone but those we want it to be shared with? In Germany there is already a law that Facebook information cannot be used in the recruitment process. In the UK a teacher was fired for posting a private comment on Facebook. The borders between private and public are getting blurry. Obviously, it is your personal responsibility to filter what is appearing in the www, but protection from unsanctioned access to your data is an acute problem yet to be resolved.

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