With the internet finding a way to feature into most of the activities we do at work, it was only a matter of time before organisations started incorporating the technology into their recruitment process. Research conducted by Reppler.com has revealed a staggering 91% of employers are fans of using social networking sites to screen prospective candidates, be it on Facebook, Twitter or just the general search results that Google can provide. Understandably, this virtual pre-screening technique has its attractions- it’s easily accessible, and can add complimentary information to a candidate’s CV. But, and this is a big ‘but’, it is crucial that those who consider participating in this revolutionary method are made aware of the legal implications.
If not done so with caution, roping in social media to help in the task of pre-selecting candidates can sometimes be flawed. For instance, how can you make sure that the information you are attributing to a certain individual is actually them? This can at times be a difficult task when all you have been equipped with is a first and last name to carry out your research. Also, are you being consistent with the thoroughness of your checks for each prospective employee? Then there is the issue of discrimination. 55% of employers who use social networks have found content that caused them to reject the candidate. One reason that seemed to dominate the poll was candidates being caught out for lying about their qualifications, which is actually a reason to suggest that most employers were able to remain objective when carrying out their online research. However, the posting of inappropriate photos was also highlighted to be a detrimental factor when choosing not to carry a prospect forward to the next stage. Some would argue against this being justifiable.
It is crucial that you do not allow discriminatory thinking to leak into your recruitment process. This is easily done when the content you begin to look at is deemed more personal, and less professional. An Employment Law Adviser at CIPD sternly recommends employers and those involved in HR to question whether what they are viewing is “strictly relevant to the job the candidate is applying for?” By simply asking this question each time you dedicate time to social recruiting, you are following rules that are symmetrical to what is expected offline.
If you believe the line between social recruiting and illegal snooping to be quite fine, then there is the smart option of leaving it to the professionals. There are organisations that specialise in social profiling, the right way. Not only will this save you time, but the involvement of a third party will also help to eliminate any biased tendencies from occurring.
Lastly, a note to candidates: it is important to remember that YOU are in control of how you are perceived, based on the content you offer to the online world. Even if your intention is only for friends and family to read or see something that you have uploaded, in most circumstances, once something has been posted onto the internet, it now becomes viewable to a much wider audience.
Even once you have been offered a job, be considerate with regards to the statuses you write. There have been several headlines dedicated to employees reprimanded for using online accounts as public forums to vent out their anger towards a co-worker or their employer. So think carefully about what you put online and how it could portray you.
Sources: Reppler.com, cipd..co.uk, recruitmentbuzz.co.uk