Using Social Media in the Hiring Process: Good Idea?

HR Resource
January 4, 2013 — 2,735 views  
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Social media sites play a crucial role in most companies, when it comes to the hiring process. Social media tools such as Facebook, Linkedln, and Twitter let employers learn a lot about their job applicants. They will be able to get information about the experience, skills, and the qualification of the applicants easily. But there has been a lot of controversy regarding the usage of social media in the hiring process.

Top 3 issues Involved with using Social Media during the Hiring Process

1. Using social networking sites for background checks

It is observed that most of the applicants are denied jobs based on what they post online, like their race, age, sex, religion, or protected characteristics. So, it is important for both employers and job applicants to be cautious and careful while posting information in public. To avoid legal obstacles, employers need to have a person other than the decision maker or the hiring manager to conduct the background check of the job applicants online. The individual conducting the check should not share things that are irrelevant to the hiring process. So, it is essential to conduct a thorough background check before you send the application to the next level.

2. Breach to the applicant's privacy

The subject of privacy can be very volatile. Most people argue that job applicants put certain details openly on social media sites without being mindful. So, you cannot believe everything that is there on the site, whether it is positive or negative. Whether the applicants expect it or not, you should give them their share of privacy.

3. Work-related and legal implications

Whenever you are making a decision about your job applicant, you should consider the legal and work-related implications. This way, you will avoid future problems. Make sure that whatever you are doing does not put you in deep trouble legally. You can even consult a lawyer before you actually make a decision.

Legal Considerations for Social Media Hiring

When you hire an applicant for your company, you should be careful about the way you use social media since it can result in discriminatory employment practices. There are many local and state laws that might impose strict rules based on where the business operates. So, whenever you hire a person, it is crucial that you consider the skills and experience of the person. Details about religion, race, and color are considered to be ‘protected information’, so ensure that you do not ask for these details during the interview.

The information that you gather from the social networking site is definitely legal. For example, you interview a woman and almost offer her the job. But, later you realize that the lady is three months pregnant. You know that in the next six months, during the peak period, she will not be able to work. Legally, you cannot act on the information you get from social media sites. So, whenever you consider sites such as Facebook for your research, make sure that you wait until you have met the job applicant in person.

Do not make your final decision based on the information posted on social media sites. You should just be using sites like Twitter and Facebook as the extension of the person’s resume. Only when you meet the person, you will get a deeper understanding about him.

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