Article Date: 8/1/2011

Facebook, Linked-In and Recruiting
tech time

Facebook, Linked-In and Recruiting

As a business owner and employer, you must explore social media sites.

Scot Morris, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Technology has changed the way we recruit the people who work with us. Perhaps the most visible day-to-day example is social media.

Through the immediate, widespread distribution of information, social media has created communities of people from all walks of life who share views on products, services, politics, religion, personal preferences and each other. For instance, it is estimated that more than one hundred million people access Facebook daily and spend 55 minutes daily keeping in touch with what is important to them.

Social media sites have changed the way many people investigate job opportunities as well as research prospective employers. Sites, such as LinkedIn for business professionals, have become a headhunters dream by allowing anyone with an Internet connection to access resumés, profiles and reference contacts.

In the background

These sites have also changed the way that businesses recruit employees and perform background checks. Whether you are a business owner or employee, you must be cognizant of the power of social media each and every time you post online. As a business owner, you owe it to yourself, your business and your staff to explore these social media sites. And after you view content (messages, photos, videos, etc.) posted by a job candidate, you may ask yourself: “Is this potential lifetime employee someone with whom I want to be associated?”

Starting your search

As part of your recruitment process for any new staff member or professional, look into the candidate's social media profiles. Start with something easy, such as Google or Bing. Enter their name, present city of residence or any recent job listing. Click on “Images” to reference any pictures in which they have been tagged. Perform criminal record checks by using their name and public record as keywords. This type of research can also be used to confirm employment and background information provided by the applicant on their application.

Next, search for the applicant on social media sites, such as Facebook or Myspace. Granted, these are personal sites and in most cases you must also have a user profile to get much more than the candidate's picture. However, you can glean a great deal of information about an applicant through images, posts, likes, comments, etc. At this point, some of you may ask whether this is an invasion of privacy. The answer is “no.” As Facebook terms of use state: “When you publish content or information using the everyone setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).”

Filling in the blanks

Information from social media websites helps fill in the blanks or “flesh” out the traditional written application and interview. Remember: Anyone can look good on paper.

Recognize that we all have a right to our personal opinions and to choose our avenue of communication with friends and family. Also understand that you don't have to agree with everything that a candidate posts. But you do have the right to make a decision if those posts could in any way negatively or positively affect your business. You owe it to yourself to check out prospective hires online. OM


Optometric Management, Issue: August 2011