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Social Media and Employees: Social Media as a Hiring Tool

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Social media has grown into a powerful, versatile, efficient tool for HR departments and jobseekers alike. Some major corporations have gone so far as to build full-featured Facebook sites, including interactive message boards, job search engines and helpful tips from the HR staff to facilitate their hiring process.

As useful as this technology can be, however, it also opens the doors for certain problems and risks for employers. If you plan to use social media in helping you find the best and brightest – or to help them find you – make sure you’re keeping your eyes open. A couple of tips:

  • Don’t invite a discrimination lawsuit. If employees believe you passed on hiring them due to their ethnic background, physical disability, or any other legally-protected classification, you could end up facing a legal battle, and the accompanying bad press, for something you never did. But the fact remains that if you even view such information, deliberately or accidentally, you have exposed your company to possible liability. You may want to exclude as many of these factors as you can from your Web-based applications, or have a third party remove any potential “hot potato data” before you review them.
  • Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t make it true. Just as job applicants can misrepresent on an application form or attach fraudulent documentation, online applicants can feed you misleading or false information through social media channels. They may refer you to all kinds of information on blogs, industry bulletin boards or Facebook apps containing “facts” that turn out to be fiction, costing you valuable time and effort and possibly even making you hire the wrong person for the job. As always, the final candidate selection process should include professional reference and background checks to formally validate information on a candidate’s application.

As we have discussed different exposures of employment in past blogs, we have provided suggestions for protecting business owners and promoting profitability. Different company cultures may be such that a business owner doesn’t need to adhere to all recommendations, but there is a baseline of applicability to limit liability.

As Social Media continues to evolve, we hope that some of our commentary reminds you of, or helps identify, exposures implicit in operating your business in a greater social view.

How are you using Social Media to recruit employees in your organization?

Dan Hettrich is the director of sales at Acadia HR located in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at or 512-745-2985.

Written by Dan Hettrich

March 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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