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Using Social Media for Employment Decisions

Within the past decade, the way businesses source new employees has changed significantly. The days of having your employment ad to the newspaper by the end of the day on Wednesday to make sure it hit the Sunday paper are behind us. Today, social media is used by over 90% of businesses for recruiting.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are used to hire, retain, and sometimes terminate employees. Using social media sites can speed up your hiring process and enable you to find a higher quality person — over 40% of businesses say quality of hiring is better when using social media.

Like anything, using social media has good aspects as well as bad.

Social media can be used positively by posting employment openings and job opportunities. Employers can use social media to view applicants’ recommendations made by their connections.

Sometimes, it is important for employers to use an individual’s appearance when making hiring decisions; social media can aid in this. However, always use caution regarding discrimination of a person based on gender, religion, sex, orientation, or ethnicity.

For employee retention, employers need to make social media policies clear and specific regarding what company information should and should not be discussed on social media.

Social media can be useful for the employer in providing verification of performance or proof of violating company policy. For instance, if an employee is posting during work hours and there is a clear policy prohibiting the behavior, or an employee posting before work hours that gives a little too much information to the employer.

As an example of too much information for the employer, imagine it’s Monday morning and you and the sales manager have a meeting with a very important prospect you have been trying to gain business from for months. The phone rings and it’s your sales manager saying he won’t be in due to a flat tire and having to wait for assistance. A coworker comes in to your office and shares that he read a post on social media earlier from the sales manager that boasted about what a great weekend he had, so much so that he called in a fake flat tire excuse to his boss in order to recuperate.