Beware of Facebook Foibles in Recruiting
More than one-third (37 percent) of employers are now using social media sites to check out potential employees, according to a recent CareerBuilder study reported in PLANSPONSOR. Of those that use social media, 65 percent said they do so to see if the candidate presents himself or herself professionally. More than half say they're looking to see if the candidate would be a good fit within the company's culture.
Not all companies are joining in, however. Fifteen percent of respondents prohibit the use of social media when researching candidates, the survey found, and employers that go too far might damage their long-term recruitment goals, experts say.
While taking a peek at a person's posts and public comments is becoming more common, the practice of gaining full access to someone's account -- when employers require candidates to supply their username and password to Facebook, for instance -- alarms some experts.
Full access may reveal information that can't legally be considered in the hiring process, such as religious affiliation or a disability, noted Laura Friedel, an attorney with Levenfeld Pearlstein, in a recent report by the Society for Human Resource Management. Even if an employer is committed to ignoring that information, the fact that they have accessed it could leave them in a tough spot if the candidate levels a discrimination lawsuit against them, Friedel warned. A slew of laws, including the American with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and the National Labor Relations Act, could come into play if employers misuse information from candidates' social media accounts, she added.
Rather than funneling their social media efforts into their recruiting process, HR may be better served by using social media to support and improve their current workforce, new research suggests.
A poll of attendees at the recent Managed Care Executive Group found that 94 percent said social media technology is a vital tool to promote wellness and smart health choices among consumers, according to a report by BenefitsPro. While the enthusiasm for social media in wellness programs clearly exists, only 22 percent have actually tied their social media efforts to their health initiatives, the survey found.
Also, employers may be able to boost productivity simply by encouraging workers to check their personal accounts occasionally at work.
An online CNBC report explored data posted by Keas.com, a corporate wellness website, which cited an Academy of Management study that found that employees who were allowed to use Facebook were more productive than those who were barred from logging on.
"Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf on the Internet, enables the mind to reset itself, leading to a higher net total concentration for a day's work, and as a result, increased productivity," said Brent Coker of the University of Melbourne in Australia on Keas.com.