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The Job-Seeker and the Data Double: How Employers use Information Seeking on the Internet in the Recruitment Process and its Consequences for Interaction with the Job Seeker

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Christel Backman
Anna Hedenus
Publicerad i Paper for ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama 13-19 July 2014: RC42 Social Psychology: Social Interaction.
Publiceringsår 2014
Publicerad vid Institutionen för sociologi och arbetsvetenskap
Språk en
Ämnesord Recruitment, information seeking, data double, social interaction
Ämneskategorier Sociologi


Over the past years it has become increasingly more common for employers to search the internet for information on job-candidates, creating a situation where the interaction between the job-seeker and the employer becomes influenced by the information that the employer have retrieved from the internet. In this paper we ask how employers interact with this “data double” and how the data double influences the interaction between the employer and the job-seeker. The study was conducted through qualitative interviews with employers from the private as well as the public sector in Sweden. The different types of information packages that an employer takes part of during a recruitment process can be understood by Goffman’s concept of roles. A person uses a number of different roles in daily life, no one more “authentic” than the other, but always more or less trustworthy in regard to the context of the performance. One can therefore understand the recruitment process as a process of evaluating if the candidate is likely to be able to deliver the role that the employment carries with it in a trustworthy manner. By using information from the internet, employers may come to see job-seekers in their other roles and in setting that can be characterised as front- as well as backstage, and job-seekers will be evaluated based on whether or not these roles are perceived as compatible with the role of being an employee in the organisation in question. This evaluation process also involves a dimension of risk-management since the job-seekers are categorized and pre-screened in order to avoid any negative consequences for the hiring organization. The interaction and examination of the data doubles are therefore framed as a ‘suspicious awareness context.’

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