Social Media and today’s Recruiter

Social Media/ Social Networking: We’ve each got a profile. We’re constantly updating ‘it’ about our personal lives. And now we admit we’re using ‘it’ in an entirely different way!

Complementing traditional recruitment processes, Social Media is the modern networking, sourcing and background checking channel at a recruitment professional’s disposal.

It is important to first consider, “As Recruitment & HR professionals, if we use Social Media to ‘background check’ or qualify candidates, how do we ensure we are doing so responsibly?” How far will you or your business go in gathering and using this information? Is it ethical to discard an application based on the information they divulge (perhaps unwittingly) without further investigation?

Most individuals (candidates or otherwise) are either totally or partially unaware of the type of information freely available from their ‘social’ pages and the impact this may have on their suitability for hire. Neither do they concern themselves that as security settings change and evolve on these sites, so may availability of personal data if no action is taken by the individual. {More on availability of your personal data click here}

A study conducted by Reppler of 300 individuals involved in the hiring process, showed that a whopping 91% are screening candidates via social networking sites; and of that 47% do so without speaking to them first.

69% of those surveyed admitted they’d rejected a candidate based on information available upon social networking sites; which works both ways when you consider almost the same amount (68%) had hired a candidate based on the same information.

The below infographic {courtesy of Reppler.com} gives a clear view of social media standards of practice developing in today’s hiring process.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Will you perform social networking checks on your next hire?

Social media safety reminder for Job Seekers (and Employers)

There have been a few blog posts surrounding the recent move by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) giving their approval for the company Social Intelligence Corp to perform background checks on potential employees via social media.

Although the intelligence gathering organisation is supposedly only looking for ‘red flag’ activity, it is enough to make even the most conservative citizen cringe some, and we implore you to consider the full scope of information in addition to the ‘allowed’ aspects of your online social activity that is potentially at every one of your future employers’ fingertips.

According to Social Intelligence Corp, the company “solely generates reports based on employer pre-defined criteria, both positive and negative. Negative examples include racist remarks or activities, sexually explicit photos or videos, and illegal activity such as drug use. Positive examples include charitable or volunteer efforts, participation in industry blogs, and external recognition. Federal and state protected class information is redacted from the reports we provide. Employers are only exposed to information that is job relevant and may legally be considered in the hiring process.

This may offer little comfort however, if you were fully aware of the scope of information available to external agencies about you. This ‘Personal Data Ecosystem‘ offers a realistic view of how information is legally shared and available; (Source: www.ftc.gov)

But before paranoia sets in, rest assured there are regulations in place to safeguard your privacy and ensure it is maintained lawfully. For information and tips on how to protect yourself online, the Australian Government has released a Stay Smart Online website with sections for children, teens, schools and teachers, home internet users, and small to medium businesses.

We’re told (via socialtimes.com) that to meet FTC regulations, Social Intelligence Corp “also requires applicants to sign a waiver that gives permission to perform a social media background check. This means you shouldn’t worry about Social Intelligence running background checks randomly without warning and consent.”

At the time of this post we are not aware of a similar agency in Australia offering candidate background checks via social media but we do know that many savvy employers and recruitment agencies are doing these checks themselves via your publically available information.

HAVE YOUR SAY: How comfortable do you feel about your next employer having this information about you before making a decision to hire you?

 

 

Sophie Newman for WHR Solutions