People that are outside of recruiting should understand there is more to recruiting on Facebook than background checks.
In fact, I posted a link to my Facebook a few days about why employers shouldn’t use social for background checks (getting increased scrutiny in Washington for one), but the short answer is there is too much personal information available online.
So besides the obvious fact that none of us should appoint ourselves judge and jury as the “character police” – when that much information is available about job seekers, when we go poking around in their personal space (public or not) we are opening creating an unnecessary opportunity for liability and general risk.
Why is that?
Let’s use an exaggerated example for simplicity sake: Let’s say we’ve been interviewing Jane Doe and then decide not to hire her. Jane also happens to be pregnant and about the time we rejected her is when she announced on Facebook and Twitter that she was expecting.
Even if we never looked on Facebook, the burden of proof lies on the employer to prove they didn’t discriminate.
So that being the case, there’s a reason we should be cautious in how we use social to recruit.
It’s one thing to post jobs on Twitter and Facebook and to take advantage of social sharing, but it’s quite another when we go beyond professional networks to actively source people on social media because of the wealth of information that people share.
As an employer, do I want to take on that liability to try and train my recruiters (and let’s be real, all of my hiring managers as well) on all of the ways in which we could potentially discriminate and then hope that none of them do it?
As humans, we have a natural tendency to want to hire others like us, which means we ahem, don’t want to hire those who are not like us – not to mention the natural stereotypes that exist about people beyond ethnicity and race, such as pregnancy or religion or disability.
So how many of those my many recruiters and hiring managers do you think I can trust will all do exactly like we suggest and just ignore the fact that Jane Doe is pregnant, that Joe Schmoe is in a wheelchair, or that St. Nick looks like he’s 150 and he’s applying for a job as a pole-climber?
The Cloud Recruiting Revolution
However, there are companies, such as find.ly, and course BeKnown coming to the table with solutions that give job seekers the ability to link their social networks to a platform using cloud technology, that essentially only pulls out the relevant work information into a the cloud.
The beautiful thing about this technology is if a job seeker updates their information on Twitter or Facebook, because the data is stored in the cloud, it’s automatically updated into any other platforms they may have opted into.
This, in my opinion, is the direction for social recruiting to allow recruiters to still go to where the job seekers are without opening up themselves and their organizations up to the risk associated with so much publicly available personal information.
About the Author: With almost 15 years in HR and over half of those in leadership roles, Carrie Corbin has firmly established herself as a solid business partner with a proven ability to leverage HR & Staffing Strategy with business results.
While leading the employment brand initiatives and recruitment marketing and media strategy for AT&T, Carrie has also been instrumental in launching the enterprise wide integration of social and mobile recruiting and subsequently breaking some of the traditional boundaries of HR.