Navigating the Murky Waters of Social Media Screening
Daniel Davis 270006VHAC firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  smarter-workforce social_business social_media shrm millennials recruiting smarter_workforce employees shrm14 hr socbiz social_media_screening
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There is no such thing as off-the-clock social media. So declared Eric B. Meyer, attorney at Dilworth Paxson LLP, in his SHRM 2014 session, “Social Media: Practical Guidance from the Youngest Attorney in the Room.” His point being that job seekers can’t reasonably expect their online social activity to remain completely hidden from employers, but with the influx of millennials into the workforce, this truth is one that increasingly affects the HR professionals seeking to hire those employees as well. Those professionals must navigate the murky waters of social media screening, waters tangled with tweets, posts, blogs, and all of the guidelines and rules—written and unwritten—that say what’s fair game for them to consider when hiring a new employee.
Among people ages 18-29, Meyer reports, 89 percent use social media. Often times they are on multiple platforms. It is their lives. Sound hyperbolic? The truth is one-third of college students and young employees believe the Internet is as important as air, water, food and shelter, according to Meyer.
When hiring millennials in particular, then, HR has a wealth of publically available information about the candidate at their disposal. The question is, should they always make use of that information?
Social media has of course become a powerful recruiting tool. Meyer reports that 94 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social media for recruiting, and employers who have done so found a 49 percent improvement in candidate quality.
Looking at a candidate’s social profile is another matter, however. Even members of a generation which grew up with the Internet might pause at an employer combing through their profiles looking for pictures, opinions, affiliations, what have you.
With millennials in particular sharing so much of their lives online, it’s an almost impossible task for them to clean up their social profiles entirely when it comes time for them to apply at a company. It thus comes down to HR to use discretion and good judgment in what, if anything, they do with all that candidate’s information that’s just sitting there, begging to be looked at.