The pitfalls of using social media for hiring

Today, social media can be a convenient tool for recruitment, but it comes with its problems


With more and more job seekers turning to apps to find their next opportunity, we’re heading towards a revolution in recruitment. Just 10 years ago, it was still considered best practice to send a snail mail job application. This was slowly replaced by the convenience of email. Now, we’re seeing apps like LinkedIn offer candidates the convenience of applying for a job with just one click. This presents many different challenges for the modern HR department. Here are just some of the pitfalls of using networking sites for recruitment:

Throwaway applications

With candidates able to apply for a job with your company with just a tap, it means that you could be inundated with applications from people who aren’t really too interested in working for your company. Recruitment is a time-consuming process, particularly for small companies, so the best way to resolve this is to include a request that will discount the majority of applications.

It’s good practice to include a request for prospective employees to include a sentence or two about why they want to work for your company and then simply ignore any applications that fail to meet this request.

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Alienating loyal fans

For companies who use their social media following to increase the reach of their job advert, they can quickly run into problems with alienating their loyal customers. If you post on social media that you are hiring and loyal fans of your company choose to submit an application, they are more likely to respond with anger if they are not selected for an interview.

As the conversation started on social media, it follows that they will voice their concern on social networks, which can be very damaging to your brand. To solve this, it’s best practice to keep your job openings off Facebook and Twitter, unless you are prepared to respond to any backlash. To avoid any conflict, ensure you communicate with every applicant individually and explain your decision not to take their application any further.

Legal side of social vetting

As workers are now applying for jobs through professional networking sites, it’s becoming easier for recruitment managers to find the same people on social networks. This is still a murky area of recruitment, as employers can easily find themselves in trouble with discrimination laws if they make a decision based on a candidate's social media presence. You might think about checking a candidate’s social media profile is just good practice, but this can consciously or unconsciously sway your decision.

The best solution for this is to create an ethical wall between the person doing the research and the person making the final decision. The researcher will gather all of the relevant information from their findings, and then only present the legally permissible information. This will prevent any issues if the candidate calls in the employment lawyers to settle a dispute.

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