Using social media to help make hiring decisions has become a common trend. In fact, a recent survey of almost 1,000 recruitment professionals found that 73% of respondents use social media platforms, like Facebook, to evaluate applicants.
Considering the popularity of social media sites here in Hawaii, your company may be thinking about or already utilizing this recruitment method as a way to find good candidates. However, using social media to make hiring decisions can cause problems if you’re not careful.
Potential problems of using social media for hiring
Your company may want to tread lightly when it comes to using social media to make hiring decisions for two reasons: First, there’s the potential to run into legal trouble, such as discrimination charges, and second, social media evaluations may not be a good prediction of a candidate’s job performance.
One of the biggest concerns with using social media in the hiring process is discrimination. Viewing a candidate’s social media page gives your company access to information you probably wouldn’t know unless the candidate came in for a face-to-face interview, such as race, ethnicity, and age. It may also give you information about the candidate’s religion, marital status, disabilities, and political affiliations—all subjects that should never be discussed during the interview process.
If you make a negative employment decision after viewing an applicant’s social networking profile—even if you never considered that information in a biased manner—you may find your organization subject to a discrimination claim.
Just remember that once you look at a candidate’s social media page, there’s no going back, and it could put you at risk when it comes to defending the legality of your hiring decision.
Poor performance predictor
One argument for using social media as a hiring tool is that it gives you an inside look into whether or not an applicant would be a good fit with your company. For example, looking at a candidate’s social media page may give you an idea of their personality and attitude or even their communication and spelling skills. However, a new study found that evaluations of applicants based on their Facebook profiles are not a solid prediction of job performance.
Not only is social media a poor predictor of whether or not a candidate will last at a company, the study also found that evaluations of people based on their Facebook profiles are no better at predicting employees’ cognitive ability, self-efficacy, and personality than traditional methods, such as interviewing and reference checking.
Whether or not you use social media for hiring, we can probably all agree that the objective of a job search is to find qualified candidates that fit with the culture of your company and represent your business well. If you decide that social media is what best helps you achieve this goal, make sure that you are taking proper precautions to ensure that your actions are legally sound and won’t get your company in trouble.
Read also: How to (Legally) Screen Candidates on Social Media