As many HR folks know by now, social media can be a great tool for recruiting and hiring. But you need to be careful.

What happens if, for instance, a rejected applicant claims you used information gleaned from his Facebook page about his disability to weed him out?

If he can prove you viewed his page, you may have a hard time proving you didn’t use the information against him.

What to do
If you’ve decided you want to make a social media search part of your recruiting process, you probably need a standard policy/practice on how HR and hiring managers will go about it.

Consider the following points:

  • Screening should be uniform. Create a list of social media to be searched for every applicant, and also list the legal information you’re looking for. It’s legal to screen for indications of such things as illegal drug use, poor work habits, bad writing skills and discriminatory tendencies.
  • A nonhiring party should do the search. Designate an employee or employees who are not in a decision-making position to do applicant social media searches. These employees function as “cutouts,” filtering out information about race, age, disability, religion, etc. that can’t be used in the hiring decision. What hiring managers don’t know can’t be used against them.
  • Don’t get “friendly.” Organization representatives shouldn’t “friend” applicants to access their nonpublic profiles.
  • Document the decision. If you make a hiring decision based on a social media search/screen, be sure to have documented nondiscriminatory reasons for your action.

photo credit: 87interactive

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