Lately, PMP has observed a considerable uptick in hiring by small and large employers alike. In view of this welcome development, we thought our readers might benefit from a review of best practices in recruiting.
Best Practices for Using Social Media in Recruiting
The recruiting landscape has, like everything else in this digital age, changed significantly in recent years. The most obvious change has been the emergence of social media as a recruiting tool. Sites and applications such as LinkedIn and Facebook have been game-changers for recruiting purposes. But the use of social media in recruiting is not without its perils. Understanding the dangers of social media-based recruiting can help employers avoid potentially costly mistakes.
Many employers, when assessing a job candidate, visit the candidate’s Facebook page. While this practice is not unlawful in itself, it can result in the employer learning information about the candidate that cannot legally be considered in the hiring process. For example, the employer may learn the candidate’s race, ethnicity, marital status, age, or religion. Once a hiring decision-maker has such information, the employer is vulnerable to being accused of using it in the hiring decision.
One way to diminish that risk is to check social media only after a candidate has been interviewed, rather than using it as a method for conducting an initial screening of a candidate. Another way is to have someone in the company who is not involved in hiring decisions be in charge of viewing job candidates’ social media content and filtering out any information about protected characteristics (e.g., race, age, disability, etc.) before forwarding neutral information on to HR or the hiring manager. Also, an employer should never ask an applicant for his password or username information, or try to “friend” him or otherwise join his social network. A number of states have statutes prohibiting this conduct, and refraining from it is best practice in all states.
Other Best Practices in Recruiting
It should go without saying that every job posting an employer publishes should contain an EEO statement. This is language that states that the company is an equal opportunity employer and refers to its non-discriminatory hiring practices. (For federal contractors, the EEO statement must be more detailed pursuant to regulations.) Employers must bear in mind that these statements cannot be lip service; they must reflect a fundamental truth about the company.
One step in the recruiting process where a company’s EEO policy must be a guiding principle is the interview. When interviewing candidates, employers must take care not to ask questions that may elicit information regarding the candidate’s protected class status. For example, asking a candidate if she is married, has children, or plans to have children may seem like friendly small talk, but it is not permissible in a recruitment setting. Likewise, discussing a candidate’s religious affiliation (e.g., “Will you need to take Rosh Hashanah off?”) is forbidden. Employers should train their hiring team on interview skills, including what questions they can and cannot ask. For a free copy of PMP’s article, “Interview Do’s and Don’ts” please email info@pmpHR.com.
Recruiting new employees is an exciting undertaking, but must be conducted with a firm understanding of discrimination law requirements. Any employer with questions about effective, risk-averse recruitment strategies should contact an HR director at PMP.