The Twittersphere, Facebook’s global network and the countless other ways in which people share their lives across cyberspace provide a wealth of opportunity for companies to zero in on potential perfect candidates for roles in a competitive marketplace.
But because for every fact that goes into the plus column there’s likely to be a photo or link that might act against an applicant, the question remains for hiring and HR managers: how much notice should you take of social media when vetting candidates, and what role should social media play in your recruitment strategy?
The safest option is to try to remove the human touch when trawling through cyberspace for potential candidates – quite simply, we’re not programmed to deal with such huge quantities of data and how ever much we profess to be neutral and have the best interests of our company at heart, we carry some ingrained biases.
The truth is that however much businesses should always ask permission before trawling a candidate’s social media profile, many seldom do. And when a hiring manager scoots around in social media and discovers a few party pics, some comments on personal preferences – perhaps even comments or posts that talk to private persuasions – they are going to start building up a picture of their applicant.
There are some very obvious dangers here in relation to how Federal law views employment discrimination:
- Personal bias: No matter how much a hiring manager might profess neutrality, there are always topics which might sit a little deeper in their consciousness. When this topic was discussed on a talk radio station, one employer-caller even admitted to cutting an applicant because she dressed her cat in the colours of a sports team that the employer detested.
- Privacy: The basis of any interview should be the information that your candidate has volunteered to you. If you haven’t asked permission to view their social media profiles then candidates can call foul if questioning and decision-making starts to rely on potentially discriminatory territory – and it’s clear from questioning that the information has come from an applicant’s social media accounts.
- Finding out too much: Employers can’t un-see information on social media and that can have implications when they see references to, say, illnesses (imagine how to process someone who frequently shares posts from a diabetes website) or political affiliations or family ties. People’s ideas about what they consider private can be very different through the generations, and prospective employers run the risk of discovering too much information without seeing the whole context.
QJumpers President Simon Oldham says most smart candidates already differentiate between their private and public online personas specifically so potential employers see their best side – but new technology being investigated by QJumpers at the moment easily outstrips personal bias and foibles by being able to search through literally billions of online data points to pin-point potential matches between roles and individuals.
“The major danger in having hiring managers having a look and forming opinions based on what they read is that their businesses end up with biased opinions based on ill-informed information,” Simon says.
“AI-driven global search-and-match technology is the holy grail of recruitment in that companies are able to search anywhere, find the best person based on your job criteria and then have them recommended to you.”<
QJumpers is aiming to roll out this technology this year.
By far the most important way that companies should harness social media, though, is through their own online profiles. As well as boosting the potential for referrals, and growing brand knowledge and loyalty, having a strong social media strategy tailored to fit alongside a recruitment strategy helps provide a good candidate experience.
QJumpers Sales Executive Michael David says social media has largely meant old media channels such as print, radio and TV have become redundant when it comes to building a brand and even benchmarks such as having 10,000 or 100,000 followers for a specific organization is less about those individual followers and more about overall brand and its effect on a number of different success streams, including recruitment.
“You build your organisation’s social media brand to be recognizable not only for potential clients and customers but also future employees,” he says. “Chances are that if you’re entering the recruiting environment then you already know the companies where you want to work largely because those companies have built such a large social media profile.
“For any organization, the better you brand yourself on social media the easier it’s going to be to recruit because people automatically know what you stand for and the culture you want to portray.”
To experience QJumpers’ innovative approach to recruitment technology and find out how we can help integrate your social media and recruitment strategies, email us at [email protected].