Cutting Edge or Over the Edge? HR and Recruiting Decisions Made with Social Media Monitoring

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Recent new technology allows human resource managers and recruiters to access real-time, actual job seeking behavior to make workforce planning and recruiting decisions. But should they?


The key lies in proper data planning and establishing boundaries and governance around the data so that the information isn’t misused. Hudson Americas CEO, Lori Hock

The era of unprecedented insights into personal preferences and behaviors has made its way to HR and Recruiting. Tools now exist that show which candidates and employees are on the job hunt in real time. This data is culled from publicly available sources such as social media sites, job boards and licensed data providers. It can alert recruiters as to when a top candidate becomes dissatisfied so the recruiter can leap, and it can inform HR leaders about which employees are dissatisfied so they can take action to remedy the situation or begin planning to fill a role. The recruiting profession has thrived off of this kind of information but now companies can use the same technology to know more about their own employees, which begs the question, just because we can access this data about our internal employees, does it mean we should? How can we prevent a double standard, hypocritical culture from developing within a corporation about the same set of data?

According to recruiting industry veteran and Hudson Americas CEO, Lori Hock, the eventual use of these data insights is inevitable. “Large retailers use this type of data all the time to promote products according to buyer preferences and even make suggestions on other products we might like to purchase. Likewise HR is evolving into a data-driven function, with the focus shifting from simply reporting data to enabling the business to make informed talent decisions, predict employee performance and conduct advanced workforce and succession planning.”

Hock continued, “The key lies in proper data planning and establishing boundaries and governance around the data so that the information isn’t misused. Now is the time for organizational leaders to address this and get ahead of it.”

The new capabilities bring advantages, disadvantages and several gray areas to the forefront for discussion and decisions to ensure ethical governance.

Advantages: Improvement of recruiting, organizational performance and employee satisfaction

  • Improved communication and engagement with candidates and employees
  • Better and easier job advertising and candidate sourcing
  • Enhanced customer service and tracking of employee satisfaction
  • More effective: workforce planning and retention
  • Ability to identify managerial deficiencies and develop action plans

Potentially damaging use of data for talent decisions and management

  • Use of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age or political affiliation for candidate selection
  • Hiring decisions based on unverified information (LinkedIn education or job history)
  • Punishing/harassing an employee based on online activity frowned upon by management (e.g. one’s political or social views)

Gray Areas

  • Seeking candidate references from prior colleagues (identified online) without candidate’s knowledge
  • Talent decisions based on youthful bad decisions made long ago that continue to be profiled online (i.e. college or vacation activity)

“It’s also important that only select, responsible people have access to the data. For example, managers should not have access to individual job seeking behaviors of a direct report. If an employee starts looking for a new job, even the most mature manager might inadvertently take it out on that employee,” added Hock.

Hudson Global, Inc., a leader in talent solutions, is at the forefront of combing the new technology with HR and recruitment consulting services to help businesses translate their data into better business decisions. With their Talent Analytics solution, Hudson can help clients leverage analytics for workforce planning, employee satisfaction, advanced candidate sourcing and talent pipelining.

The company recently published its inaugural Job Seeker Pulse report—the only report of its kind—that leverages job seeking behavior technology to track and compare the activities of 8,000 U.S.-based Fortune 100 employees by generation and seniority level.

About Hudson Global Inc.
Hudson is a global talent solutions company with expertise in recruitment process outsourcing, retained search, technology recruitment, and recruitment consulting and talent management. We help our clients transform their organizations by leveraging our expertise, deep industry and market knowledge, and assessment tools and techniques. Operating in 20 countries through relationships with millions of specialized professionals, we bring an unparalleled ability to match talent with opportunities by assessing, recruiting, developing and engaging the best and brightest people for our clients. We combine broad geographic presence; world-class talent solutions and a tailored, consultative approach to help businesses and professionals achieve higher performance and outstanding results. More information is available at

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Leah Burdick
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