I have just recently been brought in as a technical adviser for my company's interview process. After taking a look at a stack of resumes I decided to google the people I was going to be interviewing. Is it appropriate to cancel interviews for qualified individuals if they seem like they will be a sexual harassment liability, judging by what they publicly post on social media sites?
"If they seem like they will be a sexual harassment liability"
From personal experience, things can be taken out of context. A comment that is literally against prejudice can (and has been) misconstrued if you only see half of the conversation.
To elaborate just a bit, a social media site like twitter, you're often only seeing a sentence at a time in a nonlinear conversation.
You're usually free to hire whoever you want to.
If you're going to do this, you need to read the entire profile, and replies to get said context. You should probably also get a second opinion if a qualified candidate is going to be taken out of the running for such a thing.
I have just recently been brought in as a technical adviser for my company's interview process.
I'd stick to what you were tasked with and judge the candidates on their technical capabilities. Go crazy and Google them if you must, find their StackOverflow score and rank them by that if it makes you happy.
But consider the following:
Panel member: buck, we've narrowed it down to Foo and Bar for the job, which do you recommend?
buck: I'd say go with Foo.
Panel member: Ok, and because we need to be completely transparent, why do you recommend Foo over Bar?
buck: Well, I Googled Bar, and came across their twitter account, or as they are known their @Super_Bar_Master_420 and some of their opinions on women weren't in line with my own.
All of a sudden, you've gone outside of your original scope, potentially made the other panel members look bad, call in to question the whole process and depending on where you like expose them to liability.
You were "brought in as a technical adviser", so stick to rankings that are based on technical issues, otherwise you might not be invited back.
No looking at social media sites is a legal mine field in recruitment especially in the USA you have no HR/legal training and are according to your profile 17! there are massive areas of law that have yet to be tested in the USA which is why use of social media by hr is such a sensitive area.
Any sensible hr professional would see what you doing and have a heart attack – you would be lucky to not be fired on the spot – in fact the hr person who gave you this task would be lucky not to share your fate.
Stick strictly to your technical remit – or better still accept that you have made a serious error of judgement and remove you self from any involvement in recruiting.
Think what would happen if this got on the front page of gawker you’d be crucified