Risk of Using Social Media in Recruiting

Like it or not, social media has become a major player in both conducting a job search and searching for new employees.  In a 2013 report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), they stated that 77% of organizations were using social media in their search for potential employees.  That study was 4 years ago, so it is likely that the number is much closer to 100% at this point.
While there are many advantages to using social media to find potential employees – it’s convenient, you get to see another side of the applicant, you get to view a wider group of potential candidates, including some who may not have come to you otherwise, and you get to advertise your open positions to a much broader group of job seekers than you could with past methods – there is a downside that HR needs to be aware of.

Not Everyone is on Social Media

It’s a bit hard to fathom in this technological age, but there are still people who refuse to use any type of social media.  For instance, my husband has never used social media, doesn’t have an interest it in, and likely wouldn’t have a clue of where to start if he wanted to investigate what the fuss is all about.  But if you wanted to know who won the Super Bowl or the World Series in any year, just ask him, he’ll know (do not ask him to pick up milk after work because he will, consistently, forget that).

There are other highly experienced, knowledgeable, and highly-skilled people who, like my husband, do not want to use social media.  This means that recruiters are eliminating some very qualified applicants when they rely solely on social media for sourcing potential employees.  Some recruiters may even wonder what an applicant is hiding by not showing a part of who they are on social media.  Recruiters and hiring managers need to know that excluding people who do not have a social media presence is essentially another form of discrimination.

Speaking of Discrimination

Scanning social media to pre-screen applicants can provide a recruiter or hiring manager with some valuable information that is good to know before a job offer is made.  If a job applicant is making racist remarks or posting vulgar material on their social media pages, they may not be a good fit for your company.  Likewise, a recruiter needs to ensure that they are not using this medium to exclude certain protected groups.  During my recent job search, it took quite a while before I even got a call, leading me to wonder if my age had anything to do with the lack of responses.

The reality is, recruiters may have prejudices, that they’re not fully conscious of, so they need to ensure that they’re not eliminating applicants based on their race, sex, sexual orientation, or age.  Employers can eliminate this risk and possible legal exposure by only scanning social media sites after an interview, but before a job offer is made.  This will ensure that they are basing their decision on experience and qualifications first and foremost.

Do you think that you have ever been discriminated against due to something on your social media site(s)?

Additional Resources:

Point/Counterpoint: Should Employers Use Social Media to Screen Applicants?

4 Reason Social Media is a Critical Recruiting Tool

Reasons Employers Passed on Applicants Due to Social Media Posts

 

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8 thoughts on “Risk of Using Social Media in Recruiting

Add yours

  1. Your blog is always full of insights. I think it’s key that employers review their applicants web print after the interview process. But, that is not often the case. Some applicants don’t even make it to the interview process before they get dropped off the list of potential hires. Given the fact that social media has taken over, would you advice anyone who isn’t on social media to join just to keep up with the trend?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback Eunice. I think it is wise for all job seekers to utilize SM to some extent – at least LinkedIn. To not be aware of SM and how it is being used by companies and individuals is going to render these job seekers out-of-touch.

      Like

  2. I think it is a good idea for recruiters to use social media. I have had to block some things that my friends post because I think that recruiters are looking at my facebook page and I do not want some of the things that they post associated with me. I try to keep my timeline happy, fun, and without drama!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Brenda,
    Another great blog. You made wonderful comments about how HR department and recruiters check/prescan applicants social media before reaching out to them. Social media had its perks but can bite you in the back if you’re not careful about departing work and personal life. Also, another great point you made about people who refuse to use social media. Say these people are great applicants but are no where to be found on social media because it is not for them recruiters and HR is missing out on people who could be an asset to their company. So even though social media has made recruiters life very easy I believe they should still go the old route and conduct a 5 minute mini- interview (phone conversation) before moving with them for the job application process.
    -Barsha

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great post. Not being in the workforce it didn’t occur to me that employers would look for employees using the internet, social media. As you may have guessed I am not a great example of social media involvement. If not for this course I would still be just on Facebook just to keep up. But I have slightly updated my Linkedin status, just in case. I think that an interview first is the best avenue before scanning social media. I think an interview is much more insightful of qualifications and demeanor. The social media may be helpful in determining “fit” but in days gone by the interview was all anyone needed. There is always some risk no matter how much probing is done.

    Like

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Jessica Rogers, PhD.

University Educator, Marketing Practioner; Social Media Marketing Researcher

The Social World As I See It

A Map for the Pathway of Higher Education

Outta My Comfort Zone

Blogging attempt by middle-aged grad student (I plan on living until I'm 110)

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Longreads

The best longform stories on the web

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

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