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We Googled You

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We Goggled You

Case Study

Abstract The CEO of the luxury apparel retailer Hathaway Jones, Fred Westen is planning to expand to China market. He needs someone with the skill sets needed to make it a successful. Fred’s old friend’s daughter Mimi Brewster wants to be part of the move, she believes with her Chinese background and her experience in the field, she would be the right candidate for the job. However, the vice president of human resources, Virginia Flanders found some compromising posting on the internet when she goggled to search information about Mimi Brewster that can jeopardize their plans in china. Fred does not know if hiring Mimi Brewster is the right step to take or not. He believes Mimi is the right person to be on board with them. He thinks internet posting of more than eight years ago is not something to really take serious and at the same time fears that the china plan might fail because of Mimi’s posting on the internet.

We Goggled You

Problem The CEO of Hathaway Jones, Fred Westen is under pressure to or not to hire an applicant, Mimi Brewster for the new branch to be opened in china due to her compromising posting on the internet found by Virginia Flanders, the vice president of human resources.

Assumptions * Virginia Flanders does not want Fred to hire Mimi because of the internet posting. * Mimi Brewster did not think her past internet posting will be against her getting hired. * China’s project can be affected negatively by Mimi’s internet posting. * Fred Westen has no genuine believe that past internet posting about Mimi is a true reflection her. “Google anyone hard enough and you will find some dirt.”

Case Analysis
The issues in this case are:
• It is difficult for Fred Westen to hire an ideal candidate with the company hiring policy.
• Mimi’s Internet posting is an obstacle for her getting hired.
• Fred could not speak with Mimi about the internet posting to hear her side of the story which made him make a decision.

Firstly, it is difficult for Fred Westen, the CEO to hire an ideal candidate with the company hiring policies. Fred made this statement as a conflicting hiring policy between the company and the world of prospect employee out there, “With everyone’s sins out there on the internet, fewer and fewer young people seem to be coming to us without any baggage” (p. 42). Fred Westen thinks that for the human resources to base Mimi’s qualification for employment on internet search engine like Google should not be criteria for selection. On the internet, there is no limit or control of information. They can be posted or falsified by anyone with little expertise (Wathen, 2002, p. 136). For example, “Mimi sitting outside China’s San Francisco consulate protesting China’s treatment of dissident journalist” could be a falsified picture or a misinterpretation of the presence of Mimi at the consulate at that time. The lack of gatekeepers allows anything to be published online by anybody (James, 2010). “Without editorial control, documents flawed by bias, mistakes, lies, scholarly misconduct or any number of other flaws can be circulated instantly.” (Wathen, 2002, p. 137). Therefore, Virginia could be getting false information about Mimi in the same way she could be misinformed about a potential candidate who posted false information about her achievements and qualification online in order to get the job. In addition, technology, internet, and information sharing; “young people are participating in a range of activities, including social networking, blogging, gaming, instant messaging, and other content, uploading and sharing their own creations, and collaborating with others in various ways”(James, 2010). Therefore, it would be difficult for companies to hire young interesting people who don’t have any online presence. Consequently, it is an issue for Fred to hire young interesting candidates if Hathaway Jones is only looking for perfect people who don’t have anything on the web. It will also be a mistake if the company loses potential candidates or hires wrong applicants because of the human resources decision based on misinformation on the internet.
Clearly, Hathaway Jones needs to evolve with the current trend of technology in its hiring policies in order to hire the best employees.

Secondly, Mimi’s internet posting is an obstacle for her getting hired. Mimi’s qualification and experience shows she is qualified for the position. Fred Westen knows that she is the best candidate for the job but the internet postings portraying her as an anti-China trade protester is an obstacle for her job application.
With the new digital era, internet is playing the most important role in informing human resource managers about jobs applicants (Solvensky, 2011). Diverse electronic journals and social networks like Facebook and twitter simplify the publication of information about people online (Davidson, 2011, p. 3). Details about professional and private information such as marital status, age, beliefs, activisms, personal opinions and pictures are broadly exposed on these media; there is no more privacy like before (Solvensky, 2011). Therefore, people need to be careful about their activities on the internet, even in their daily life in public because human resource professionals in the USA considerably rely on internet to find information about candidates before making their hiring decision (Davidson, 2011, p. 4). has reported in its survey statistics that “the percentage of 2,600 managers who look at social networks profiles as a way to screen candidates has risen from 22 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2009” (Solvensky, 2011). Nearly 11 percent more has the intention to use social media to screen candidates. Nearly 29 percent affirm relying on Facebook, 26 percent relying on LinkedIn, 21 percent relying on MySpace, 11 percent search blogs, and 7 percent use Twitter (Solvensky, 2011). Smith and Kidder stated that “Almost 35 percent of US employers in one survey report that they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire an applicant” (Solvensky, 2011). According to Rowell’s reports, “70 percent of HR managers say they have rejected a job applicant for his or her internet behavior (Solvensky, 2011). For example,
“Mangla (2009) recounts the story of a 22-year-old master's degree student from California. The student allegedly posted on her Twitter feed, ‘Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.’ A Cisco employee saw the tweet and responded by asking who the hiring manager was. The exchange attracted commentary from others; the student ultimately turned down the job, perhaps because she believed that Cisco would have withdrawn the offer anyway.” (Solvensky, 2011)
Because internet is the new virtual world that attract young people of this new generation to expose their private life and activities, human resources professionals understood that they can use search engines, Google and other search engines “to get a sense of ‘who’ the candidate really is” (Davidson, 2011, p. 4). This method of assessment is frequent in our time; while it might be advantageous for employers, it is clearly disadvantageous for job seekers (Davidson, 2011, p. 9).
While Hathaway is looking to expand in China, hiring Mimi with an anti-China trade activism internet presence can be an obstacle for the success of this project.

Thirdly, Fred could not speak with Mimi about the internet posting to hear her side of the story which made him make a decision. In order to really evaluate the information on the internet, Fred stated, ‘”Let’s get Mimi back in here to tell her side of the story”’ (p. 41) but Virginia said it was impossible because the company has not yet defined a legal position related to human resources internet screening of job candidates. This failure of bilateral discussion about the problem has restricted Fred from making an ethical decision about Mimi. A lack of communication between parties involved in a situation cannot help the resolution of problems (Spaho, 2010). This explains how communication is essential in the world of business when managing business in effective way (Spaho, 2010). Hathaway Jones is a professional firm; therefore, it should handle this issue with maturity and professionalism by discussing the issue with Mimi in order to bring light to the information.
Having an effective communication between parties involved in a business encourage new ideas, bring more alternatives for problem-solving and simplify the decision-making process (Spaho, 2010). We never know; having a discussion with Mimi can bring ideas about how to pull this information from the internet. It also can give more clarity about the postings, which may prove that Mimi wasn’t really involved in any of these protests. Bilateral discussion may also help the company to find a suitable way of hiring Mimi in a way that won’t hurt the company’s project.
Communication is a vital way to make an ethical decision, and people with a personal ethical standard hardly make unethical decisions (Eid, 2012, p. 389). Obviously, Fred has a personal ethical standard and making a decision without having a discussion with Mimi about her internet postings is unethical and a mistake. A unilateral decision about these postings is like a bias and a shortsighted decision-making for Fred who also doesn’t want to lose a talented candidate like Mimi. According to Tompkins, “the five ethical values of Human communication are: truth, justice, freedom, care, and integrity” (Eid, 2012, p. 390). Therefore, as an ethical person, Fred needs to rely on truth to make his decision, and this truth cannot be found without communicating with Mimi. Therefore, not able to discuss the issue with Mimi is hindered Fred from making an ethical and a clear decision.

RECOMMENDATION I would recommend that Fred Westen speaks with Mimi about the internet posting to hear her side of the story even if the company has not yet established a legal position about screening candidates based on the internet search findings. Mimi might not know that internet postings can affect her from getting hired. She probably has no knowledge about the postings. It is also possible that her presences on the internet are falsified informations. Therefore, having a discussion with Mimi is important to bring out fact about the information that Virginia found on Google. I believe that best way to go about it is to speak with Mimi.

Gantt chart of Hathaway Jones Description | Start Date | Duration (Days) | End Date | Research (Web) | 7/26/2014 | 2 | 7/27/2014 | Meeting (Ceo& Hr) | 7/27/2014 | 180 | 1/26/2015 | Change follow ups | 7/28/2014 | 365 | 7/27/2015 | | | | | | | | |

Davison, K. H., Maraist, C. C., Hamilton, R., & Bing, M. N. (2011, 07 14). Springer Science+Business Media. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Complete:

Eid, M. (2012, June 14). Springer Science+Business Media. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Complete:

James, C., Davis, K., Flores, A., Francis, J. M., & Pettingill, L. (2010). Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice. Retrieved from

Slovensky, R., & Ross, W. H. (2012, February 2). Info : the Journal of Policy, Regulation and Strategy for Telecommunications, Information and Media. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Complete:

Spaho, K. (2010, May 29). An Enterprise Odyssey. International Conference Proceedings. Retrieved from

Wathen, C. N., & Burkell, J. (2002, January 15). Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Retrieved from

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