Jennifer King is an HR Analyst at Software Advice, a company that reviews and compares recruiting and employee performance review software. She reports on trends, best practices and technology in human resources. The Global Human Resources Outsourcing (GHRO) team enjoys Jennifer’s insights into the recruiting industry, and so today’s post reprises elements of one of her recent blogs: Why Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Job Candidates.
In a 2011 Reppler survey about how recruiters use social networks to screen candidates, 91 percent of the respondents claimed they have visited a potential candidate’s profile on a social network as part of the screening process. But why? With all the tweets, status updates and comments, it’s unavoidable for any social job seeker not to be searchable in some way.
With social media, it’s possible to learn more about a job seeker than what is on his or her resume, giving recruiters and hiring managers more insight into the behaviors and personal lives of their candidates.
According to Eric Meyer, partner in the labor and employment group at Dilworth Paxson LLP, “Businesses and recruiters want to know as much as they can about a person who they may give a job offer. But the real purpose behind screening is to make sure the person you’re hiring doesn’t have any red flags that would make them a bad fit or a potential liability for the business.”
When it comes to commenting, posting photos or sharing status updates, we don’t typically update our social media profiles with recruiters in mind. Instead, we post things that are relevant to our lives, interests and personalities, giving recruiters a clearer picture of the person behind the resume.
Tips for Job Seekers
For recruiters and hiring managers who choose to look up candidates online, it’s likely that what they find will also shape their first impression of that person.
“Perception is reality in the business world,” says Amy Henderson, account executive with Technisource, part of Randstad Technologies. “The way people perceive you online, through social media—that’s what they use to make first impressions. And those first impressions are lasting impressions.”
And even with privacy restrictions set up on social networking sites like Facebook, it doesn’t mean an employer won’t take extra steps to get a look at what’s behind those privacy restrictions, even if that means bluntly asking a job candidate for his or her login information.
But by requiring login credentials for candidates’ social media profiles, employers run the risk of losing top talent due to a perceived lack of trust.
“For the past 23 years, Human Resource Executive® has had the pleasure of recognizing the best, most innovative products in the HR industry,” stated David Shadovitz, founding editor of Human Resource Executive® and co‐chair of the conference. “Our judges spent many hours poring over the entries, reviewing product demonstrations and conducting research to make their selections. The competition was fierce, and this year’s group of winners represents what the judges consider to be the top solutions that are making HR professionals’ lives easier.”
The Global Human Resources Outsourcing (GHRO) team isn’t recommending any one product over another…we’re just sharing. The Top winning products (continued from Dec. 21 post) are:
- Kronos Workforce Mobile, by Kronos Inc., is a time‐and‐attendance and scheduling application that is designed to run on the native platform of whichever smartphone managers and employees typically use, whether it is an Android‐based phone, an iPhone or a BlackBerry. The product lets managers schedule shifts and approve timecards and time‐off requests via their phones, while employees can view their schedules, request time off, approve their schedules and punch in and out of work via their mobile devices.
- Archived I‐9 Comply ‐ Audit & Conversion System, by nowHIRE.com, converts and audits legacy paper Form I‐9s to electronic format and audits the documents using a 20‐tier, 185‐point system that highlights errors for easy review and follow‐up. The auditing criteria were developed in collaboration with the law firm of Clark Hill, and nowHIRE claims its algorithms achieve 99.5 percent accuracy in detecting documentation deficiencies.
- Saba Social Learning, by Saba, is Saba’s cloud‐computing‐based offering, designed as a social and formal learning solution to enable organizations to spur growth and reduce training costs. The application is designed to give employees access to the learning they need and want via a portal that allows them to learn at their own pace, from onboarding to ongoing training. Features include the ability to connect with mentors through the application’s profile‐matching and expertise‐identification functions, and peer networks that allow users to share both questions and answers to shared challenges.
- Candidate Statements, by TotalRewards Software Inc., is a web‐based software solution designed to help job candidates easily see a robust, personalized model of their compensation and benefits, both in print and online. This stand‐alone application also offers reporting that can be targeted for individual recruiters, recruiting teams and an administrative overview. Recruiters can add company branding, including videos and written messages, as part of the information available to candidates. Customization and branding are also available.
The following two winning entries represent innovative ways to leverage the popularity of Facebook for recruiting:
BeKnown, by Monster Worldwide, is Monster’s app for Facebook, creating a professional network within the popular website, allowing individuals to create career connections as well as access Monster career content. Organizations can create company pages to post jobs and create referral networks so recruiters can source and acquire talent.
BranchOut, by BranchOut, is a professional network on Facebook that leverages “friends” to find jobs, recruit talent and strengthen professional relationships. BranchOut offers SocialJob posts that are shared on Facebook and Twitter, and displays an individual’s “inside connections” in the job post. It also offers CareerConnect for publishing job postings on a company’s Facebook page.
With nearly 10 percent of the nation’s workforce out of work, you, the recruiter, are probably finding a lot more résumés on your desk. It can be daunting to find the best person for the job in such a large pool of applicants. A good candidate knows how to stand out, including researching the company and asking intelligent questions during the interview. But you, also, need to research the candidate and ask intelligent questions during the interview. After all, you want to find just the right fit, and with so many candidates to choose from, you may need to ask more questions than you would ask in a typical interview. While you reach for those extra questions, bear in mind illegal inquiries that could get your company in hot water. Avoid adding a discrimination claim to a stressful screening process; use caution when discussing the following topics.
It’s probably obvious you shouldn’t ask how old a candidate is—whether you’re concerned a candidate may be too old or too young to fill the position. It may be less obvious you shouldn’t ask how long a candidate plans to work before retiring or other questions that could open a case for ageism. Instead, you can ask if a candidate is of legal working age and about a candidate’s long-term career goals.
2. MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
Plain and simple: You can’t ask if a candidate is married or has children. Similarly, you can’t ask if a candidate intends to get married or have children, or if a female candidate would come back from maternity leave if she became pregnant. Even something potentially innocuous, like asking about a woman’s hyphenated last name, could lead to trouble. If you’re concerned a candidate’s family obligations may take them away from the job, focus your questions on the facts. If a position requires overtime or travel, especially at short notice, ask if this will be a problem.
3. RACE AND NATIONALITY
It is illegal to ask if a candidate is a U.S. citizen or speaks English as a first language. Of course, the answers to both those questions are important to choosing the right person for the job, so instead, ask if a candidate is legally authorized to work in the country. You may also ask what languages a candidate fluently speaks.
4. HEALTH AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
Most every topic directly relating to a candidate’s health and physical fitness is off limits. You can’t ask about personal habits such as smoking, drinking, or prescription drug use. You may, however, ask if a candidate uses illegal drugs. You may also ask if a candidate has ever been disciplined for violating a company’s alcohol or tobacco policy. Likewise, you can’t ask about a candidate’s personal health, such as disabilities, illnesses, sick leave taken, or even height and weight. Stick to the facts necessary to perform the job’s duties and ask, “With or without reasonable accommodation, are you able to perform the essential functions of this job?”
5. MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS
Sometimes seemingly basic—even conversational—questions can pose the biggest threat. You are not allowed to ask if a candidate lives nearby or has a long commute. Instead, try asking if the candidate is willing to relocate for the position and is able to work within the designated business hours. You also can’t ask about a candidate’s general criminal history, but can ask about particular crimes as they relate to the position (for example, fraud and theft for a finance-based job).
When conducting interviews, as a general rule of thumb, stick to the facts: job functions, past work experience, and future career plans. Phrase every question in a way that relates to those facts and you’ll find the right person for the job without ending up in a legal battle.
The recruitment experts at GHRO can help your company fill its ranks with the highest quality talent available. To attract and maintain the best candidates, GHRO will prepare a personalized recruitment strategy aligned with your company’s goals and objectives. GHRO will also manage the entire recruitment process, from screening applicants to helping you select the right employees to conducting negotiation. For more information about how we can help you acquire top-notch talent, visit our website.