Stay Compliant When Visiting a Candidate’s Social Media Accounts

Social media’s role in recruiting has been fairly well-established in the last few years. It’s where job candidates turn to discover more about the culture and perks of companies they’re interested in. Meanwhile, more and more companies use social media to engage with followers and fans, and extend their recruitment brand in the process.

Needless to say, using social media as a recruiting tool has moved into the mainstream.

Social Media Recruiting Has Gone Mainstream

Just look at the findings of SHRM’s 2016 survey on social media to get a sense of how ingrained social media has become in modern recruiting strategies. Among the organizations they surveyed:

• 84% claimed they were already using social media for recruitment, while an additional 9% planned on using it.
• 82% said that recruiting passive job candidates was the top reason they continue to use social media
It’s also worth noting that many companies are using social media to learn about job candidates. From the survey:
• 43% said they use social media or online search engines to screen job candidates.
And while viewing applicants social media is not a recommended HR best practice, some employers are confident that what they find is both useful and within compliance boundaries. For example:

• Some job seekers have social media feeds that are specific to their professional lives and interests. They may post positive messages, discuss their career field, and connect with other professionals.
• Many candidates use social media to extend their resumes or portfolios, or to promote their work.
• Some candidates will use social media to thank companies for interviews, and even invite would-be employers to visit their pages.

Visiting Social Media Sites Raises Compliance Questions

Still, viewing social media sites can be risky for employers, and where critical compliance issues can arise:

• 44% of HR pros said that a candidate’s social media profile can provide information about their performance.
• 36% said they have “disqualified a job candidate in the past year” because of something they saw on their social media page, or during a web search.
Social media makes it easy to learn things too soon.

When employers use social media to pre-screen job candidates or research existing employees for promotional opportunities, they may inadvertently access information that could be cited in a discrimination claim. After all, social media gives employers access to protected class information they might not have access to until a face-to-face interview—information including but not limited to:

• Gender
• Race
• Religion
• Marital status
• Sexual orientation
• Disability
• Political views


Where social recruiting is concerned, compliance is key. Download our latest Spotlight report, “Mobile and Social Strategies Help You Maximize Time for Candidates and Your Company” to read more on compliance matters.

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Is it possible to use social media to research candidates without running into compliance issues?

7 Best Practices for Staying Compliant When Visiting a Candidate’s Social Media Accounts

Maybe, but a lot of it comes down to your timing and your process. Here are seven best practices to consider:

1. Consult with legal counsel to help ensure compliant processes to mitigate potential for litigation.
2. Consider waiting until after the job offer before you search someone’s social media profile.
3. If you absolutely have to visit their social media before a job offer, give the job to someone who isn’t involved in the hiring decision.
4. Instruct your screener only to make note of things related to a candidate’s professional ability (for instance: links to a portfolio, articles, etc.).
5. Make sure your screener takes screenshots of anything that may be a red flag related to a candidate’s professionalism. You may not wind up using this information, but it’s good to have in case your department has to defend your hiring decision.
6. Let candidates know that someone from your company will be looking at their social media pages. Most candidates will appreciate this transparency.
7. Above all else, be consistent. Follow the same process for each candidate.

If your company is somewhere between dipping your toe and wading into the social recruiting waters, the seven best practices above can help you construct an internal social media policy, and even inform valuable compliance training for your staff.


How an Applicant Tracking System Can Help Your Social Recruiting Efforts

The myStaffingPro applicant tracking system helps both companies and employees connect through social media. To find out more about applicant tracking, contact a myStaffingPro representative today.

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