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For employers looking to hire, social media can expand the pool of applicants and yield valuable information about candidates when it is used with a disciplined approach that doesn't infringe on hiring laws. Sound social media hiring policies can help organizations keep their hiring and screening lawful and ethical, and can help them compete successfully for top talent. With social recruiting on the rise, it is vital for job board operators and managers to integrate with social media as well, and know the top trends in doing so.

Employers regularly use social media sites to scout for top talent.
Employers regularly use social media sites to scout for top talent.

Employers use Facebook and Twitter to gain a more personal view of job candidates, and LinkedIn to gain a more thorough professional view of candidates. These three sites are now core components of many employers' recruiting strategies. Because of this, job boards should look for ways to partner with these sites as well - save your advertisers time logging into social media sites, incorporate these features into your services. At least, offer your recruitment advertisers advice when looking to social media for their supplemental recruiting efforts.

Strategic engagement is the key to successful social recruiting. Here are five tips to share with your job advertisers when using social media for job recruiting:

1. Look Before You Leap

Document defined goals before jumping into social media to find job candidates. Create a "Jobs" tab on your Facebook page so potential applicants can learn more about your organization. Articulate your goals for social media recruiting, and plan ways to use these sites to attain those goals.

2. Keep Up With Social Media Trends

Make it a point to learn about social media site updates that could affect your strategy. Online social media training courses are readily available and many of them are free. You may not realize how much you don't know until you try them.

3. Use LinkedIn's Skills Section

LinkedIn's free Skills section can help you find people with skills you want who are most closely connected to you, delivering connections up to three degrees removed from your network. This is great for finding people who can introduce you to promising candidates.

4. Add Career Offerings to Your Company's Facebook Page

There are paid and free options for doing this. Some companies integrate job postings into their Facebook pages, making it more likely that candidates who don't visit the corporate website will see job listings.

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5. Be Interactive

Don't just use social media as your foghorn. Participate in conversations where you might meet potential candidates. Participate in #HireFriday on Twitter, or use tools like Hootsuite to follow relevant threads. In your company's profile description, use keywords relevant to job recruiting, like "careers" and "jobs."

Legal Considerations

Use recruiting techniques that expose your organization to a diverse group of potential applicants to maximize your chances of finding your dream candidate.
Use recruiting techniques that expose your organization to a diverse group of potential applicants to maximize your chances of finding your dream candidate.

Social media can provide employers with information that in earlier times might not have been known until after a face-to-face interview, if ever at all. Social media may provide information about a potential job candidate's religion, marital status, race, or disability, and you are not allowed to use such protected information to make employment decisions. Here's how employers can stay legal:

  • Have someone other than the employment decision-maker use social media for information gathering. They can serve as a firewall between the candidate and the decision-maker.

  • Give your screener specific criteria related to the position for which you're hiring.

  • If you hire a background screening company to screen using social media, bear in mind that they are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Under this law, applicants must give permission for pre-employment background screening.

Make Sure You're Casting a Wide Enough Net

Don't put all your recruiting eggs in the social media basket, because you may miss out on great candidates. Some surveys show that social media sites have lower percentages of black and Latino users than the general population. Use job boards, newspapers, job fairs, and other traditional recruiting methods too. Make sure you post a notice on your website that you're an Equal Opportunity employer seeking a diverse pool of applicants.

The use of social media for hiring is today's reality. If you do it wisely and remain aware of ethical and legal parameters, you can use social media to enlarge your pool of applicants and find job candidates you may have missed before.

RealMatch is a provider of recruitment advertising solutions for media companies and digital publishers. Custom job boards benefit job seekers, employers, and web publishers looking to build their audience and develop revenue streams.

Photo Credits: FrameAngel / freedigitalphotos.net, stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net

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