Archive for April, 2014

Do: Use Social Media for Recruiting. Don’t: Violate EEOC Compliance.

April 25th, 2014

Social Media RecruitingHiring managers are increasingly turning to social media to help with the research and recruitment process. Services like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter make it easy for people to put their best foot forward before even having submitted a resume or a cover letter, as recruiters scour social networks. In fact, a 2013 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management found that 77 percent of SHRM members use social media to recruit candidates, which is up from 56 percent in 2011.

However, if you rely too much on social media to find new talent, you may be exposing your company to legal risks and scrutiny from the EEOC, according to a recent report by Michael Bologna at Bloomberg BNA.

Bologna notes that employers who use social media channels may be accessing protected class information that they could use to inappropriately disqualify candidates. This could wind up subjecting them to civil rights complaints under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

What’s more, by focusing on social media, hiring managers may create barriers to the recruitment process, with the idea being that a lack of access to social media, computers and the Internet could make it harder for people to compete for jobs.

The EEOC is not issuing guidance on social media usage in recruitment. However, to offset potential risks, a good approach for companies is to erect a firewall between hiring managers and recruiters and to have a designated person in HR who is trained in the legal ramifications of using information about candidates that has been obtained via social networks. Hiring managers themselves should not use social media for screening, noted Bologna.

In terms of hiring, social media really shines when companies use it to define and display their corporate culture, notes a recent report at the Undercover Recruiter. Your employees can refer to their own networks as they reach out to interested candidates, for example, and you will gain greater access to both passive and active job seekers.

It’s important to not rely entirely on social media to get out the word, however tempting and cost-effective it might seem. Companies shouldn’t put their vacancy ads on Twitter alone, for example, as they are only limiting their exposure.

When you do use social media, remember that you should only focus on publicly available information and not demand access to applicants’ social media account passwords to learn more about them. Such a request is a violation of the law in 12 states and may run afoul of the Stored Communications Act nationwide.

It’s clear that new software and technology, such as those used to underpin social media, can be quite disruptive to the way we do business. While social media is a great way for companies to discover promising new candidates to hire and can help extend their brand among networks of friends, it’s a good idea to be cautious and only use information that you are sure you are legally allowed to use.

Hiring to Address Your Company’s Weaknesses

April 11th, 2014

As a hiring manager, you and your staff may be more accustomed to recruit and hire new people primarily to bolster the strength of your organization. However, in some cases you need to focus on hiring to address your company’s weaknesses.

In fact, the very act of admitting that you lack certain skills is the first and toughest step to take when preparing to expand your team, according to a recent article at Fast Company by Steven Sinofsky. He cited the example of a fleet management company whose cofounders had expertise in engineering and design.

While the founders were excellent at developing hardware and software, they soon realized that they lacked professional business experience when the time came to tell their story to the news media. This realization led them to hire experts to help them plan ahead and define the roles and responsibilities required to expand their operations. They were hiring to address their firm’s weaknesses head on.

China’s emergence as a dominant original equipment manufacturer or OEM was the subject of a recent post at ClarkMorgan by d.lightdesign’s senior human resource manager Harry Wang. The firm’s social enterprise mission is to make and distribute solar power and light products throughout the developing world.

dumbbell-742370-mWhile building a technical staff, Wang determined that it would be impossible to find “perfect individuals.” The people he was interviewing showed a gap between those with hard technical skills and technicians who had softer skills. Accordingly, Wang decided to make a conscious effort to hire people with a diverse set of skills. The result was a team of workers who possessed complementary weaknesses and strengths and was better situated to achieve the company’s goals.

Writing for LinkedIn, Dave Kerpen, the CEO of Likeable Local proposed that instead of trying to get rid of our weaknesses, that instead hiring managers should embrace weaknesses for what they are. This will enable them to leverage the associated strengths that come with each “weakness.”

He provided a list of 16 common weaknesses faced by organizations, including “disorganized,” “inflexible” and “unrealistic.” He then paired this list with their corresponding qualities. While it may seem to be a weakness when an employee is disorganized, Kerpen notes that the employee may turn out to be one of your most creative people. A person branded as inflexible also has the quality of being highly organized, noted Kerpen. Likewise, you can view an unrealistic member of your team as being one of your most positive employees who can do wonders for morale.

It’s not always easy for the key decision makers at an organization to admit to the existence of any weakness, but the sooner you accept the realities of your workplace, the sooner you can take the steps you need to address any deficiencies.