Guide

Managing employee use of social media

Using social media for recruitment

Social media is changing the way people interact and there are many ways that it is changing the nature of the relationship between employers and employees.

Advertise jobs and recruit through social media

Many employers use social media to advertise and recruit new employees, for example, posting job vacancies on Twitter or LinkedIn. You could achieve huge savings by doing this as these channels are free. There is also the potential to reach recruits more quickly as social networking sites have huge audiences.

Recruitment using social media exclusively

Recruiting or assessing potential recruits using social media exclusively can exclude people who do not have access to social media. Therefore, always use other mediums for advertising if using social media for placement of vacancies.

You should consider all of the recruitment methods available to you. See where and how to advertise your job.

Using social media for screening during recruitment

Employees are often unaware that their social networking pages are being used by employers as part of a screening process before making job offers. They may be looking for evidence of what they consider 'inappropriate' behaviour or language.

Laws protecting people from discrimination on the grounds of age, sex, disability, race, marriage/civil partnership, religion and belief, and sexual orientation start at the recruitment stage.

You could face claims to an industrial tribunal if you refuse to interview someone as a result of a judgement made based on a social networking profile. As a result, the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) would not recommend the screening of social networking pages for recruitment purposes. Additionally, using information from a social networking site, without the person’s knowledge or consent, could be challenged under human rights and data protection legislation.

You might wish to get a legal opinion on whether this could be challenged if the person had been made aware by the potential employer that social media may be used by them for the purposes of verifying information etc. You should seek advice from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) before you begin using social media to screen candidates as part of the recruitment process. Contact the ICO's advice service for small organisations.