On Tuesday I saw a post on Linkedin from ITV, a photograph with the by-line, “Good old fashioned CV screening for our News Traineeship with a little help from snacks, wine and beer. Ultimately, a successful night, shortlisting from thousands to hundreds.”

I was the first to comment on this post, “Sorry if you were drinking alcohol then you have probably done a disservice to a lot of candidates. Probably not a good advertisement for your recruitment process.” And a whirlwind followed both on LinkedIn and Twitter, even managing to cross the Atlantic.

When thousands of young people have put themselves forward as candidates it is disrespectful to those being considered, especially later in the day when recruiters are no doubt tired and more susceptible to the effects of alcohol than they would have been at the start of the process.

I and others were maybe a little sceptical as to the response from the company that the alcohol was consumed after the process had been completed, but I’m willing to take them at their word, despite it only being 19.20hrs when the photo was taken. The big problem for the company is the damage to their reputation and brand, not to mention what it will do in terms of their recruitment process.

Any unsuccessful candidate who has seen this post isn’t going to be happy and social media is extremely quick for getting out the thoughts and feelings of unsuccessful candidates and they are using it. Could there even be justifications for an appeal? At a time when there is a lot of talk about candidate experience, reputation & brand, this is not going to help those connected with this post, let alone the company. Just as recruiters are checking candidates social media foot prints, candidates are doing the same, I know I do it.

I am sure that those concerned will have learned a valuable lesson from this, though probably not the one the candidates would like them to have learned. Don’t make decisions on peoples futures while drinking. It’s not fair to the candidate or the company; you just may miss that great candidate because your ability to spot them has been impaired. Sadly though I believe the lesson that will have been learned is not to post pictures on social media doing so.

It has been said that it was a little naïve to post the picture and headline on LinkedIn. I have to agree but it’s done, there is nothing can be done to erase the post or the comments made, the question now is where do we go from here?

My final thoughts are that for candidates, getting through the recruitment process is difficult enough and they are entitled to be treated with respect. For Recruiters I believe it is a case of treat candidates like you would like to be treated if you were in their shoes.

Article by Mark Gilligan, HR professional @markgilligan4