Legal

The Biggest Pitfall of Social Recruiting

By Jon Hyman

Sep. 25, 2013

Jobvite recently the results of its 2013 Social Recruiting Survey. According to Jobvite, almost all recruiters are using some form of social networking to source candidates for jobs. Ninety-four percent of recruiters use, or plan to use, social media to recruit, and 78 percent have hired via social media.

Yet, as more companies use social media information to source job candidates, more companies expose themselves to legal risk from those same hiring decisions.

Case in point—according to Jobvite, 28 percent of recruiters report that they would react negatively to overly religious posts or tweets on a candidate’s social media profile.

Here’s the problem: It’s illegal—under Title VII and myriad parallel state civil rights laws—for a company to make an employment decision based on one’s religion. Thus, if a recruiter passes on a candidate because of the religious nature of a Facebook post or Tweet, that recruiter has exposed the employer to potential liability under Title VII’s religious protections.

Yet, as the chart above reveals, there is lots of good information to glean from an applicant’s social trail: references to illegal drug use, sexual posts, profanity, and poor communication skills. Thus, the dilemma for employers is how to avoid the risk of exposure to protected information, while allowing valuable, lawful information to filter through to the decision makers?

The answer? Don’t let anyone in the chain of hiring view candidates’ social media profiles. Train an employee who is insulated from the hiring process to do your social media searches, scrub all protected information, and provide a sanitized report to those responsible for making the hiring decision. That way, no one can argue that protected information posted on a social network illegally influenced a hiring decision.

Written by Jon Hyman, a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. For more information, contact Jon at (216) 736-7226 or jth@kjk.com. You can also follow Jon on Twitter @jonhyman.

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Employment & Labor practice at Wickens Herzer Panza. Contact Hyman at JHyman@Wickenslaw.com.

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