The Sky is Falling!

sky coming to earthRecruiting may be a simple process but it’s never been easy. Even consistent top billers and corporate recruiting gurus will tell you that the job is a difficult one, regardless of how much they love it. So it’s mildly frustrating, I’m sure, when recruiters are told to do one thing, like say, recruit on social networks or try video recruiting, and in the same breath are told how legally unwise those choices are. Here are a few situations that are basically the talent acquisition version of the “sky falling”.

What the gurus say: “If you aren’t recruiting on social networks, you are missing the boat and will be left behind with the cavemen.” Take a look at this quote from the Jobvite blog:

…adoption has reached an all-time high. When we started polling human resources and recruitment professionals in 2008, roughly three out of four (78%) used social media. Now, it’s become nearly universal at 92%.

What the lawyers say: ” Often, recruiters are viewing and considering information that should not be utilized in the hiring process. LinkedIn is replete with information that should not be considered when searching for or selecting candidates.”

What’s between the lines: What you are hearing here are scare tactics and ones that work quite well. When someone with a juris doctorate tells me to be very careful about social media with quotes like this:

LinkedIn profiles likely contain photos of candidates and other information identifying a candidate’s race, ethnicity, age, disability, pregnancy, or religion. Federal and state anti-discrimination laws prohibit companies from using such non-work-related information when hiring.

I freak out. But as any level-headed practitioner will tell you, many of those things are obvious in an in-person interview anyway. So calm down and realize that while it may sound scary, they are really saying “Use your common sense and only check out the person’s professional credentials to do the job.”

What the gurus say: “Video technology in recruiting is the next frontier. It costs less, creates a better bond and will transform your screening process.”

What the lawyers say: “Using video in the recruiting process can open you up to a wide range of discrimination claims and possibly violate EEOC.”

Between the lines: HR practitioners are getting some very bad advice like this (in reference to video resumes, which really are not that great of an idea):

If a video résumé comes across your computer, hit the delete button. That’s the advice labor and employment attorneys are giving employers and human resources professionals about video résumés, the latest job-searching trend that has employers nationwide both intrigued — and scratching their heads. But lawyers are warning employers that video résumés can open a slew of discrimination claims.

The premise behind the above statement remains the same whether you are discussing live video interviewing, two-way screening services or panel interviews. In the eyes of legal pundits, all are potentially threatening, but why when the EEOC itself came out with this statement nearly four years ago?

The point is that firms intent on discriminating will find a way to do it, whether based on a paper resume, a videotape or an in-person visit. Industry analyst John Sumser thinks he knows why there are so many concerned statements couched in scary language.

“The people who are claiming there are issues here are the lawyers, who you don’t hear anything from…is the government.”

Meaning when the sky is really falling, we’ll be sure to let you know. Until then, structure your recruiting process so it’s non-discriminatory no matter WHAT technology you choose to use.

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Maren Hogan
Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
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