When you meet a new person on the street, you’re fairly likely to google their name, so it stands to reason you’d do the same when hiring someone to work with you. A candidate’s Facebook or Twitter account can be a great way to get a feel for their personality, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Allowing a person’s social media accounts to influence your hiring decision brings with it certain legalities.
Can You Use Social Media For Recruiting?
Social media can be an efficient way to recruit candidates. LinkedIn is designed for this, so by all means, hit the keyboard when gathering potential hires to interview. Your company’s LinkedIn account and website, if mindfully designed, can attract the right sort of candidate; employee reviews of what it’s like to work at your company are useful for this (assuming they’re positive). Just be sure you don’t promise employment online, pre-interview.
How Do You Make It Fair?
When using social media to research candidates you’ve already met, it gets a little trickier in the legal department. The key is consistency. All candidates should be subjected to the same online search at the same point in their hiring processes. This isn’t always as simple as it seems. While one candidate may have public accounts across multiple platforms and post prolifically, another may only have a LinkedIn profile and a search for third candidate may turn up nothing at all. For this reason, some companies choose to forgo internet research on their potential employees. If you do use social media during the hiring process, though, there is no need to have candidates sign a release form; giving them an informal heads-up, however, is a good idea.
What if You Find Something Negative?
Maybe you peruse a candidate’s Facebook page and discover nothing but wonderful things about them, but what if you hit upon negative or even disturbing aspects of their lives? What if you find out they were misleading in an interview and don’t actually possess skills required for the job? Document your concerns with a screenshot and save it so you can defend your decision if necessary. But what if what you find seems negative but is not job related? For instance, you discover they drink heavily, post stupid things on Twitter or have racist beliefs? Treat it the same as if you’d learned that information in an interview or reading their resumé. The caveat: remember this person may not control all images of themselves that are pasted up on the internet. Even photos can be misleading out of context.
Using social media is perfect for recruiting candidates and can be useful in the hiring process, if done fairly and mindfully. Remember, though, no one’s social media profiles tell the whole story. Take everything you discover online with a grain of salt.
Sources: selectinternational.com, hiring.monster.com
Photo credit: By Walton LaVonda, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – http://www.public-domain-image.com/public-domain-images-pictures-free-stock-photos/people-public-domain-images-pictures/female-women-public-domain-images-pictures/girl-with-computer-emerging-technologies-social-media.jpeg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24888752