Social Recruiting Via Facebook: Are You Putting Yourself At Risk?

ManWontLookAtLaptop650With big-name brands like L’Oreal, Groupon, and Pepsi using Facebook for social recruiting, it’s no wonder that small businesses are gaining the confidence to do the same — but it’s not quite as simple as it looks. You know what these big companies have that you don’t? Legal teams.

And if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can get yourself in serious trouble with social media recruitment. Candidates can claim discrimination if any information gleaned through Facebook (news of a pregnancy, for example) causes you to reject their application.

So before you jump on the bandwagon and start stalking potential candidates, here’s what you need to know:

Assumptions are dangerous: A potential candidate has a picture of a baby scan as her Facebook profile picture. Your first thoughts are probably, “She’s pregnant,” and, “She’s going to be really annoying on social media.” And you could be right — but, as a business, you can’t afford to make that assumption. Let the candidate know that you’ve seen their profile, and give them a chance to speak for themselves.

Avoid data-protection breaches: It’s normal to want to investigate, but you must never send a friend request to a potential candidate in order to find out more about them. If you decide not to hire them after viewing their friends-only profile, they can use this as evidence of discrimination — and that can get very expensive very quickly. If you discover something online that you wouldn’t ask about in an interview — such as religious beliefs or sexual orientation — you must be incredibly careful not to let slip that you know, or it can be interpreted as discrimination if the candidate is rejected. If you don’t check profiles, you can’t slip up. In some ways, ignorance is the safer option.

Conduct background checks after the interview: Protect yourself from discrimination claims by leaving the Facebook-checking until after the first interview. If a candidate has his or her profile set to private, you won’t be able to glean much information from it anyway (and, from a legal perspective, that’s probably a good thing). Use Facebook to enhance the recruitment process, rather than replace it.

That said, Facebook’s Graph Search can be incredibly useful for making contact with potential candidates, so don’t let the legal implications put you off entirely. You can find out how to go about recruiting through Graph Search here.

Readers: What do you think? Have you ever recruited online? If not, would you consider it?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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