The hunt for red flags: cybervetting as morally performative practice

  • McDonald S
  • Damarin A
  • McQueen H
  • et al.
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Abstract

Cybervetting refers to screening job candidates by evaluating information collected from internet searches and social media profiles. Relatively little is known about how organizational actors use this practice in hiring decisions. Interviews with 61 human resource (HR) professionals reveal that they cybervet in order to minimize hiring risks and maximize organizational fit. Their judgments are deeply rooted in assessments of job candidates’ moral character and how it might affect workplace interactions. Because it involves the construction of moral criteria that shape labor market actions and outcomes, we describe cybervetting as a morally performative practice. HR professionals express enthusiasm for cybervetting, but also concerns about privacy, bias and fairness. Importantly, cybervetting practices and policies vary substantially across different types of organizations. These findings deepen our understanding of how organizational actors define and regulate moral behavior and how their actions are moderated by market institutions.

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McDonald, S., Damarin, A. K., McQueen, H., & Grether, S. T. (2022). The hunt for red flags: cybervetting as morally performative practice. Socio-Economic Review, 20(3), 915–936. https://doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwab002

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