As discussed in Part I, the explosive growth of social media has significantly changed the way people communicate – personally and professionally. And, for hiring managers and recruiters there are privacy and legal risks unique to the social media environment. In addition to the potential legal risks, there are other points to consider when recruiting through social media, highlighted here in Part II; Pitfalls to Avoid.
Don’t Be Too Quick To Judge: Managers who judge potential hires too harshly, based on what they find about them online, run the risk of unintentionally eliminating skilled candidates. They forget that social networking profiles are not resumes. You wouldn’t hire someone based solely on an eloquently written cover letter, so be cautious when rejecting a candidate based on a “raised eyebrow” resulting from some of the content posted on his or her profile. For example, millennial candidates who are particularly active in the social media space typically feel comfortable having their personal and professional lives overlap on the Internet. Hiring managers need to be aware, as they engage in social media recruiting, that some job seekers may share personal information about themselves online more freely than other professionals. Conversely, there are still a sizeable number of professionals who are adverse to social media – what happens to those candidates? Recruiters potentially run the risk of not hiring such candidates, even if they are qualified and suited for the position. So, beware of disadvantaging candidates who do not have access (or opt not to utilize) social media.
Recognize The Time Commitment of Social Media Recruiting: Social networking sites are communities, which means it can take months (even years) to build relationships with users – especially if you are a small business. Hiring managers who enter into the social media realm without considering the considerable time commitment involved in forming useful relationships (through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites), will be met with an unpleasant reality. While simply jumping into the social media space is relatively simple, it is not the “end-all” solution for recruiting and obtain talent that some hiring managers might expect. The most successful hiring strategies rely on a combination of resources that include both a “high-tech” and “high-touch” approach.
And, most importantly – hiring managers and recruiters should be very careful to respect an applicant’s privacy, as once you have reviewed a candidate’s online profile, according to the law you are now aware of the candidate’s “protected characteristics” such as age, sex, ethnicity amongst others. In the end, when utilizing your social media efforts for sourcing & hiring – it’s a best practice to wait – until you’ve had an opportunity to meet the candidate and “engage” face to face!