By: Ryan Rhodes – Bisk Education

social-media

Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can offer people more opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals in the form of chatrooms, forums, mutual friend lists and company connections. Users can even post résumés online, engage in job market discussions and generate original content to show off their skills.

All Out In The Open

Just about anything posted online is available to the public, and that can be both positive and negative. In a positive way, social media outlets offer a means to apply for jobs and post résumés online to attract the attention of job recruiters, rather than having to physically travel to fill out a job application. For companies, social media sites can be an ideal place to look for full-time employees, part-time contractors, freelancers or interns.

Many companies are now using social media as part of their search for new employees, and for human resource background checks. It typically takes less time than the traditional initial interviewing process, and it’s an opportunity to find qualified professionals from all over the world, rather than within the constraints of one city or regional area.

Check and Double Check

Social media can be a great tool for recruiters and human resource professionals, but it’s important to act responsibly when searching online content. Investigate names and references, filter through hashtags, verify education and work experience, and don’t always trust what you see and read. Remember to bear in mind the nature of the Internet. Not everything you find on the web is factual. If information looks out of context, dated or sketchy, a candidate may actually be “too good to be true.”

With a mixture of public, private and personal information available, the legality of screening job applicants can also come into question. Using information about age, ethnicity or marital status may result in unintentional discrimination, or be viewed as an invasion of privacy. According to a 2013 Workplace Forecast survey by SHRM, of the companies that chose not to recruit using social media platforms, 54% said that they avoided it due to possible legal ramifications.

Another concern is inadvertent discrimination – making a brash decision about a candidate because of personal beliefs. HR Professionals should measure a person based on their experience, skills and job performance, rather than their preference in music, film, politics or religion.

It’s also important to remember that while company representatives use social media to locate new talent, they are working on behalf of the company online and, even if it is not their intent, they are partially building a company brand. Interaction with people and what kind of information is disclosed will become a part of your online history and can be as easily searchable as the résumés you are reviewing.

Social media platforms can be beneficial for HR professionals to find quality candidates in many different fields of work. They can provide an avenue for job candidates, young and old, to showcase their abilities in the job market. As long as company personnel are careful, they may be able to use social media to their advantage by gleaning quality prospective job applicants from a related work field.

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