The Use of Social Media Screening for Recruiting: Gold Mine or Land Mine?
-Connect, October 06, 2011-
By: Joe Doyle,TalentWise
According to a recent survey conducted by executive search firm ExecuNet, a striking 77 percent of the respondents indicated that they use the web for screening potential job candidates. Social networks are a convenient and free way to verify a candidate’s résumé claims, unearth undesirable behaviors, and gain insight into their skills, personality, and potential cultural fit. As a result, there has been a growing trend in using networking sites including Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make hiring decisions.
While it makes sense for HR, staffing and recruiting practitioners to leverage all publicly available information about candidates to make critical hiring decisions, organizations can easily get themselves into legal hot water if these sites are used inappropriately. Remembering to use common sense and treading carefully when accessing social technologies can go a long way towards avoiding major legal entanglements.
Here are five tips to keep in mind as you navigate the social networking minefield:
- To mitigate risk, seek advice from your legal counsel before using social networking sites as a component of your employment screening process. Of particular importance is the accuracy of information found on these sites and the relevance of this information to job performance – both of which are critical to avoiding discrimination and negligent hiring lawsuits that could cost thousands or even millions of dollars.
- When it comes to screening, ask whether or not the use of social networks is really necessary, or whether an alternate approach can be considered. For example, if drug use is a concern, there are well established approaches to drug screening that pose no legal risk and provide extremely accurate results.
- Keep detailed records that demonstrate your hiring decisions were based on screening practices which were applied consistently and based on objective and job-relevant information. Should your hiring decisions be called into question, these records can help you prove that discrimination was not a factor.
- Go the extra mile to ensure your candidates are treated fairly by adhering to the same standards set forth by the FCRA (http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/2user.htm). Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, having a permissible purpose, disclosing to the applicant the sources of information that will be searched, obtaining the candidate’s signed authorization, and providing them a chance to dispute disqualifying information.
- If you plan to utilize social networking sites to source candidates, avoid using these sites as your only sourcing tool. The labor pool available through social networking sites does not reflect the demographics of the general population, so sourcing candidates through these sites alone could be deemed as having a disparate impact. Social networking combined with employee referral programs and a traditional job board or two, for example, can help widen your employment opportunities to all classes of society.
As social networking continues to gain in popularity, it will no doubt become an essential part of the employment recruiting and screening process. Job seekers must be cautious of their online footprint, and HR professionals must understand how and when to use this valuable information.
About TalentWise The only employment screening solutions provider ranked in the top 3 for 3 years in a row, TalentWise provides businesses with on-demand, fully integrated Hiring Process Management solutions which include: background checks; drug testing; skills and behavioral assessments; verifications; DOT solutions; paperless I-9/eVerify; driving records; hiring credits/incentives; FCRA compliant social media searches, and turn-key integrations with applicant tracking systems. Designed for HR, staffing and recruiting professionals, TalentWise drives greater productivity and workforce quality. Serving over 3,000 businesses across all industries, TalentWise was ranked Top 2 in Quality of Service in 2010 by HRO Today magazine and was named to Workforce Management magazine’s “Hot List” for four consecutive years. For more information or a program review, please contact Joe Doyle at TalentWise. Joe can be reached at 919-359-2097 or by email to email@example.com.