Posted by: Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA) | July 2, 2010

The Impact of Social Networking on Recruiting and Screening Candidates

To tweet or not to tweet?  That is the question many HR, staffing and recruiting professionals are asking themselves lately. Exploding onto the scene in a relatively short period of time, social networking sites are having a direct impact on the daily lives of these professionals and are thrusting them square into the crosshairs of a potential precarious situation, often unknowingly.

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn have quickly emerged as new tools that HR, staffing and recruiting professionals can utilize in a stand-alone fashion or as a supplement to more traditional tools to source, recruit and screen candidates.  However, the big question at hand is, “should they”?  At first blush, there are a number of reasons why these services should be used.  The first being, they’re free.  And in today’s economy, who doesn’t like free?  Second, social networking services are a great way to get a more well-rounded picture of a new hire candidate, going far beyond what you might ever learn about them from either reading a candidate’s resume or even conducting a face-to-face interview.  Last, these services are becoming more ubiquitous.  Almost everyone nowadays has created a profile on at least one of the more popular social networking sites.  So, if the information is out there, why not use it?

That said, the meteoric rise of these social networking services (Facebook currently has over 100 million members and LinkedIn trails not far behind with over 60 million) has driven the question of legality to the forefront.  And since social network recruiting is so new, many businesses lack the understanding, guidance and policies regarding the proper (i.e. legal) use of these services when it comes to recruiting and hiring candidates.  The good news is that because of social networking’s popularity, more and more companies are leading initiatives (often driven by HR, staffing and recruiting professionals) to develop standards and guidelines around the use of social networks to ensure their organizations are compliant and protected.  And you, too, have the ability to help shape your company’s (or your clients’ companies’) policy for recruiting and screening candidates using social networking sites.  To help guide you in this endeavor, we suggest the following:

  • Embrace social networking – it’s the wave of the future and it’s here to stay!  Social networking is also a great way to extend your company’s brand and give candidates a better sense of the type of organization for which they’ll possibly be working.
  • Understand the employment issues at hand and the stance that government bodies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) are taking on the use of such services for employment-related purposes.
  • Consult with your attorney(s) as you develop your company policy.
  • Publish your policy and communicate it broadly – especially to those directly involved with the sourcing, recruiting and screening of candidates.

To further support your efforts, TalentWise and Taleo Business Edition are proud to offer you a complimentary copy of Taleo Business Edition’s Summary Report – Social Network Recruiting: Managing Compliance Issues.

Click here to receive your free copy today!



  1. Technically “Facebook currently has over 100 million members” is correct. But they also have over 400 million. Check the stats:

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