Personally, before doing some research on this topic I have always thought that some companies could use social media platforms as a tool for their hiring process but I never imagined that as many as 95% of companies are using Linkedin, Facebook and other resources like these to find new employees (Calvasina, G. E., Calvasina, R. V., & Calvasina, E. J. (2014). Social Media and Human Resource Staffing: Legal, Policy and Practice Issues for Employers. Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues). That is a big number, right? For this post, I wanted to learn a little bit more about this practice and its legal consequences for both, the employer and the applicants.
First, let’s talk about the good stuff. According to Vicknair, Yancey & Budden, one advantage of the usage of social networking platforms in hiring processes is that additional information like for example photograph good skills, cooking, sport’s abilities or arts can be demonstrated by a candidate in their social media accounts, competencies that cannot be easily tested in regular recruitment modes (The use of social networking websites as a recruiting tool for employers. American Journal of Business Education). Another good thing about it could be the comments and posts friends put on the applicant’s shared contents, which can be used as a way of good referencing. Third, for the employer, the usage of these tools is a way of saving money and time. As cited in the Calvansina’s paper I talked about before, a hrmreport.com article reported that Microsoft saved $88,000 in recruitment fees using Linkedin, sounds pretty good right?
As always happens, not everything can be that nice and shiny, it is important also to take into account some legal and ethical issues that can come up when using social media in hiring new staff. The main hazard factor for companies that use this way of screening in their recruitment processes is related with that any information regarding an individual’s sex orientation, race, religion, national origin, age or marital status, is considered to be unlawful to use in employment decisions. That is why only the possibility of companies accessing this information can create an issue associated with discrimination practices. A more ethical issue is that through public profiles, companies’ recruitment staff have access to any sensitive information that might be a not job or professionally related but can in some way influence the employer’s perception of a candidate. Additionally, according to Hazelton & Terhorst article (Legal and Ethical Considerations for Social Media Hiring Practices in the Workplace. The Hilltop Review), current employees can considerate searching candidates’ background online as fear arising from their workplace by having the possibility of also searching for their information.
Finally, I also looked for some examples of companies that are doing a good job using social networking platforms in their hiring processes. Disney, for example, uses its Twitter account to remind aspirants that they can follow their dreams while working for the company and to let them know how is like working there. By focusing on potential employees’ aspirations companies can create a social media value proposition hard to resist to.
This is a pretty deep topic where there is a lot still to discuss but I did not want to get boring with too much information, this is just a way of briefly covering some important points about it. I hope you enjoy the reading. Looking forward to reading your comments!