Pitfalls of Social Media and Recruiting

April 12, 2013  |   Posted by :   |   YPHR Blog

LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites grow in popularity year after year. As a recruiting tool, these sites are an invaluable resource.  Where else but the Internet can you instantly browse resumes of seemingly unlimited candidates? The technology surrounding these sites changes so quickly that the law lags significantly behind, offering little direction for employers to develop policies.

Take, for example, the TEK Systems case from 2010 where former employees, including a former recruiter for the company, were sued by the company for using LinkedIn to connect with and allegedly recruit their former TEK Systems coworkers.  The company claimed the recruiting tactics violated the former employees’ non-compete contracts.

So, avoid recruiting your former co-workers and you will be OK?  Not true.

The biggest concern for businesses is discrimination. Studies show that LinkedIn and Facebook users are not representative of the U.S. or global job-applicant pools.  Social media typically has a significantly lower percentage of minority users than the general population.  That means the burden is on employers to be sure they are casting a wide net (job fairs, print postings, job boards, etc) and not strictly relying on social media to find potential employees.

Additional concerns about discrimination arise from employer’s access to the photos and personal information on social media. If you are doing a candidate search on LinkedIn, who is to say you didn’t use the picture showing that the person was elderly or a racial minority to screen them out of your candidate pool?

While the non-compete case did end up in litigation, we have yet to see a discrimination case based on recruiting through social media end up in the courts.  Still, a sound social media policy will help prevent potential litigation should your company receive a complaint.  Do you have questions about your company’s social media policy?  Contact YPHR today!


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