Online Employment Screening and Digital Career Capital: Exploring Employers’ Use of Online Information for Personnel Selection

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cybervetting, personnel selection, digital career capital, curating online identity, information visibility, organizational processes, impression management

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This study explores how employers report using online information to evaluate job candidates during personnel selection. Qualitative analysis of 45 in-depth employer interviews emphasizes how new and different information visibility afforded by the Internet simultaneously replicates and shifts how employers evaluate reconstructed information about candidates during personnel selection. Data revealed that employers evaluate the relative presence or absence of certain types of visual, textual, relational, and technological information in patterned and idiosyncratic ways. We discuss the likely consequences for theory and practices of personnel selection and careers, emphasizing the increasing expectations for workers to curate digital career capital to manage the expanding contexts within which employers construct and evaluate professional and/or workplace identities.

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Management Communication Quarterly, v. 29, issue 1, p. 84-113