Conducting a social media search on a job candidate is a tricky legal area!

by | May 31, 2016 | Recruitment & Relocation

Friday, May 20, 2016
The Cleveland Society for Human Resource Management’s annual Staffing Management Association’s conference was held at Hyland Software this year and was entitled “The Year of the Recruiter.” They brought in subject matter experts from around the country to share info to a room filled with recruiters and the vendors who help them with talent attraction.
Here are some key take aways…
Ok, fun fact #1 learned from speaker Lori Kleinman: The average person checks their cellphone more than 150 times a day. Which equals out to about once every six minutes you are awake. No wonder we’re all exhausted! Our electronic leashes are very short; and, if you start paying attention, you’ll notice you do about the same. Meanwhile, if your company has a policy that forbids using a personal mobile device while on company time, you are crazy if you think it’s working.

Ethan Hall

Ethan Wall, founder of the nation’s first law firm dedicated exclusively to social media also shared insights on the pitfalls surrounding companies that do social media searches on job candidates. It’s a sort of a ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ situation, so bear with me…
If you don’t do a cursory search of the web to uncover potential risky behavior prior to hiring someone and then that person causes harm to a coworker, client or third party (sexual assault, theft, etc.), you can be charged with negligent hiring if you are unable to prove that you conducted a basic web search. However, and here’s the tricky part, your company can’t use info it finds in social media to rule in/out applicants based on protected info (age, religion, race, military status, pregnancy, ethnicity, disabilities, sexual orientation, etc.).
So when everyone overshares on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even LinkedIn, how do you avoid seeing info you shouldn’t? You have to create a policy in your company that creates clear divisions between the person responsible for doing the social media searches from the person who has the authority to hire that person. Designate a person at your company to be in charge of social media cyberstalking. They can share info on risky behavior (someone seen drinking, smoking pot, racist remarks, etc.) but cannot share any info that would shed light on protected info. Make sure everyone in your company knows the policy so they don’t inadvertently cross the line.
Matt Grove, a consultant with Recruiting Toolbox, shared the following insights with the 300+ recruiters (and the vendors like Executive Arrangements who help them with talent attraction) who were part of the conference.

  1. STOP multi-tasking. We brag about being able to work on eight things simultaneously, but all the research shows that if you focus on just ONE thing for as little as ten minutes you get more done, and the work will be superior than if you try to answer emails, type a report, eat lunch, and chat with co-workers all at the same time. Try it!
  2. A recent survey of job applicants showed that 60% of them said that applying for a job is more challenging than applying for a mortgage, a student loan, or picking a health care plan. Yikes! If you make your application process more user friendly, you’ll attract more people and better people.

At Executive Arrangements, we work to make sure our clients land the best possible candidates by providing recruits and their families with in depth introductions to Cleveland, Akron and Canton when a relocation is in the picture. To learn more, call us at 216.231.9311.