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Social Media Madness

Arlene Vernon

We read about Social Media everywhere we turn. From an HR perspective, there’s a lot going on in this area, ranging from strategically using social media as a recruiting tool to warnings regarding misuse of social media for recruiting and disciplinary purposes. Today we’ll take a glimpse at recruiting and social media. Next month we’ll talk about how to use social media as part of your background check processes.

Recruiting and social media

Here are some interesting statistics:

  • 94.5% of recruiters (internal and external) have hired employees after searching on LinkedIn
  • 80%+ of employers are using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as on-going recruiting tools

Clearly, social media is making it easier for companies to search for qualified candidates. As an employer, it’s important to determine which methods – if any – work best for your industry and open positions. For example, Craigslist may be a better advertising tool and Facebook the best social media venue for non-professional positions. LinkedIn may be best resource for your industry. Test out what balanced approach works best for you. Like all recruiting sources, it’s a trial and error process.


Years ago when I started in HR, candidates attached their photos when mailing in their resumes. This was later discouraged because of the risk of discrimination (age, race, gender, ethnicity,…). It’s interesting how we’ve come full circle, since almost everyone with a social media presence posts their photo with their bio. However, just because this is common practice, it doesn’t eliminate the risk of discriminating.

We have to be very careful how you (and others in your organizations) use social media for recruiting. For example, if anyone shows a pattern of discrimination when weeding out candidates after merely glancing at the person’s image on Facebook or LinkedIn, you run the risk of opening your organization to a valid charge of discrimination.

uccessful social media hiring

According to CareerBuilder, 29% of hiring managers said that when using social media to screen candidates they discovered information about candidates that led them to hire the person.

This is good news – at least for the 29% of managers and their candidates. But I think that this figure also shows that the majority of employees haven’t developed their social media pages to the same level quality that they have their resumes. Resumes open the door. Successful candidates need their social media to keep the door open.

HR and managers report checking social media to assess whether candidates:

(a) effectively show their personality

(b) present themselves professionally

(c) fit the organization’s culture

(d) make sure their qualifications match their resume

(e) have good communication skills

(f) are creative

(g) have solid references

This kind of online candidate research makes complete sense. It’s one more way to assess the consistency of what the candidate presents to us. Since we know some resume writing is outsourced, some resumes stretch the truth and some people are stronger at interviewing than job performance, social media gives us one more way to verify consistency across the board.

As HR and hiring managers, we have to determine how this new screening becomes a consistent, measurable part of our selection process. From a compliance perspective we also have to assess whether our new screening methods appear discriminatory. If hiring managers are considering candidates based on image or a protected classification (age, race, religion, ethnicity,…), they could be placing our organizations at risk. It’s our job to make sure we use all the information available to us wisely.

Copyright (c) 2012 Arlene Vernon, HRx, Inc.

About Arlene Vernon

Arlene has provided HR consulting and management training services to over 300 organizations since starting HRx, Inc. in 1992.

If you’re seeking a hands-on, practical HRxpert to assist your organization with employee relations, policy development, strategic HR activities or fun/doable management training, call on Arlene – Your HRxpert.

If you’re planning a conference, seminar or special event, Arlene specializes in keynotes, seminars and workshops to meet your talent management needs. And if you’re seeking a more lively entertaining activity, Arlene’s custom songs and musical-inspirational keynote may be perfect for your organization!

HRx, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN 55344, 952.996.0975www.HRxcellence.com. Arlene@ArleneVernon.com

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If you’re seeking a peer group of HR professionals interested in learning and sharing information on HR best practices, then an HR Mastery Group is for you!

2013 is the 7th year that I’m facilitating monthly HR Mastery Groups.

HR Mastery is your opportunity to learn from your peers as well as from our guest presenters on a wide variety of HR topics and issues you face every day.

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Each group has 8-12 human resource professionals who commit to a one-year membership of 12 two-hour monthly meetings. There’s a wide variety of experience, companies, and industries in each group which enhances your opportunity for learning.

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Also during the month the members email each other with requests for information, forms, tools, and resources. Typically, another member has already developed that form or has the name of a great resource who can help you.

To learn more about this great opportunity, email me at
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If you’re not having fun with your human resources, call Arlene today at 952.996.0975