The use of the big three social media networks, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, are gaining traction in the recruitment and selection process, with LinkedIn taking the lead. Studies show that almost half of recruiters using social media for the recruitment and selection process use LinkedIn exclusively, but Twitter followers are almost 3 times more likely to apply for a job through social media than a LinkedIn connection, and recruiters have the smallest Twitter networks of the three. While recruiters have been building their LinkedIn networks, candidates using social media for job search are exploring and participating on Twitter and other new social media platforms.
The recruitment and selection process has traditionally been about finding and talking to candidates with the skills and education needed to do the job. It has evolved into a more complex process of attracting top candidates and engaging them through employer branding, company culture, and development opportunities. Social media has evolved much faster than the mainstream, traditional recruitment and selection process, and recruiters and employers are finding new ways to use social media to connect with candidates. More than a way to announce job openings, social media has become a strategic tool in the recruitment and selection process to reach candidates who might not normally apply, candidates with specific niche skill sets, and candidates in specific areas.
Beware of Legal Issues
The Society for Human Resource Management’s survey “Social Networking Websites and Recruiting/Selection” published in April 2013 found that more than half of employers don’t have any policy on screening candidates through social networking sites. That means they are not providing any guidance for recruiters or hiring managers about how to comply with employment laws and regulations when using social media in the recruitment and selection process. The survey also found that employers that do have policies about screening candidates through social media are evenly split about the practice, either allowing or prohibiting it.
Legal experts recommend caution when using social media in the recruitment and selection process to avoid legal issues.
• If you review an applicant’s online profile, courts will assume you are aware of any protected characteristics such as gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, and disability.
• Using social media to source and screen candidates without a standardized process applied uniformly to all candidates leaves room for the appearance of special treatment or discrimination.
• You may come across information in social media that wouldn’t normally be available during a traditional recruitment and selection process and that doesn’t apply to the candidate’s ability to do the job. Using this information in a hiring decision may appear to be or actually be discriminatory.
Some legal experts recommend not reviewing a candidate’s social media presence before selecting the candidate to interview, and instead suggest providing a release form in the application giving consent to view internet and social media sites.
Social Media Recruiting Strategy
There are several important things to include in a social media recruiting strategy if you plan to use social media for your recruitment and selection process. To use social media in your recruitment and selection process, you’ll need:
• Employment Brand – Plan to tell your company’s employment story in social media to let candidates know your company’s values, mission, and goals, work environment, benefits, on-boarding process, and any other information you feel will attract candidates. Include a brief company history for the recruitment and selection process, as well as a word from company principals and top performing employees, and a description of customers.
• Social Content Development and Management – You’ll need content to participate on social media and attract and engage the kinds of candidates you need. Provide regularly scheduled, valuable content shared across social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook in a variety of formats including videos, presentations, infographics, and polls.
• Candidate Marketing – Incorporate candidate marketing into your social media recruitment and selection process by engaging candidates through a defined process. This could be conducting weekly or monthly Google Hangouts and inviting targeted candidates to discuss your opening, your company culture, their expertise in the areas of openings you are trying to fill, or their job search experience. Profiling your existing employees on YouTube when announcing open positions similar to what they are doing and pointing candidates to the video is a great strategy to get a conversation going about the positions you have open.