The discussion and debate is currently ongoing when it comes to the topic of utilization of social media when hiring. Though some may simply think of Facebook when talking about social media, there are many other social media avenues that are growing in popularity. Twitter, MySpace and even LinkedIn are popular social networking sites that can sometimes be on employers radar. Sure, some of these social avenues may be beneficial when trying to attract new employees, but what are the considerations to take into account when using these assets for recruiting, hiring or growing your business.
Here are a few things to keep in mind, next time you log into your preferred social networking site to do some online investigating.
Validity: Keep in mind that social media avenues, like Facebook, may sometimes link information to individuals personal pages, that is not always 100% factual. If individuals do not have the proper privacy settings, they may be “tagged” at places that they may not have actually been to. Pictures may have been uploaded that are not them. Sometimes individuals that have the same name as another Facebook user will notice pictures “tagged” with their name, only to see when logged in that the picture is not of them-but of someone else. Realize that though it is the individuals profile, it may not be as accurate as some may hope it to be.
Policy: Does your organization have a social media recruiting policy in place? If not, and you plan to utilize this as a recruitment avenue, please sit down with your Human Resources Department and Legal team to make sure that you are not discriminating against applicants and are following the best legal practices possible.
Best Avenue?: Decide what it is that you are looking to confirm or clarify about the candidate. Are you simply trying to determine what college they graduated from, or where their previous employers were located? If that is the case, there are many other tools out there that are able to accurately and effectively answer those questions for you. Facebook may state that the individual graduated in 1988 with a degree in Mathematics, but other tools specifically designed for education verification are sometimes a more accurate option. An example would be Student Clearing House- a site that many employers use for assistance in degree verification.
The most important and key piece of information to consider though is if your social media actions are legal. A number of states have various laws and ongoing legislation in place that prohibit certain actions involving social media by employers when it comes to their hiring and even terminating employees!