Wilcox et al.’s (2022) focal paper brings to fore important practical questions, such as whether or not organizations should cybervet job applicants’ social media profiles or what the risks and benefits associated with cybervetting can be for employers. The authors also provide a relevant overview of work done by psychology and management researchers to better understand the psychometric properties (e.g., validity, reliability) of social media assessments, potential group differences, legal or ethical issues, risk of adverse impact associated with such practices, and applicant reactions (e.g., whether such practices are perceived as fair or as an invasion of privacy).
Overall, we fully agree with Wilcox et al. that all these elements must be carefully considered, more research is needed, and clearer standards must be established before encouraging or discouraging organizations to cybervet.
In this commentary, we argue that the existing empirical evidence associated with the elements listed above, standards to be created, or guidelines to be provided to practitioners largely differ depending on the social media platform used. Although Wilcox et al. (2022) reviewed a large body of work examining both personal (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and professional (e.g., LinkedIn) social media, we believe that their conclusions to generally avoid cybervetting are largely based on empirical evidence from personal social media. However, we argue that different
conclusions could be reached if one specifically considers professional social media platforms like LinkedIn. In addition, focusing on such platforms would actually help align with several suggestions made by Wilcox et al. about cybervetting in general, such as assessing person–job fit and applicants’ knowledge, skills, and abilities.