Australian law can prohibit potential employers from using information gleaned from Facebook pages, exposing them to liability under employment discrimination laws.
The RecruitPack Social Media Survey, launched this week by Nuage Software, finds that the majority of employees and job seekers are happy for employers and recruiters to view their personal social media profiles. The survey showed that 15% of job seekers have been asked by an interviewer for access to their personal Facebook page at least once and, surprisingly, 73% are happy for recruiters to view their social media profiles.
However, employers should be cautious when using information obtained from social media to make hiring decisions.
By reviewing social networking profiles and information, employers may become aware of job applicants’ age, political views, religious beliefs, marital status, race, union membership or activity, medical information, ethnicity, and other information that cannot be used to make an employment based decision.
“There is a danger in knowing information about matters which may be the basis for discrimination or adverse action,” explains Nicholas Linke, a Partner with law firm Fisher Jeffries.
“For the same reason that asking questions about such matters in an interview is dangerous (or downright stupid), employers should proceed with caution when gathering information in this way as it could be the basis for a claim.”
Should a discrimination claim arise, the employer will have the burden of proof to demonstrate that the decision to reject a job applicant was based on a legitimate non-discriminatory reason, rather than the fact that the employer learned of the job applicant’s impending pregnancy, sexual orientation, or other discriminatory matters.
What about resumes? According to the survey, 27% of participants admitted that their resumes contained exaggeration and 20% admitted to having “some” or “lots” of untrue content.
“This is not surprising, as resumes are primarily a marketing tool designed to get the applicant into the interview,” said David Wilson, Managing Director of Nuage Software, which conducted the survey. “They typically contain enhancements, exaggerations, omissions, and even lies. Often the resume is written by third party professionals and laced with keywords to trick resume-scanning software.”
So if social media and resumes cannot be depended on, what is the answer? Mr. Wilson says that recruiters need to use well-designed, specific screening questions to uncover information that may be absent or obscured in a resume or on social media sites.
“Employers need to use specific screening questions and psychometric profiles to get a better picture of the applicant’s skills, qualifications, experience, attitudes, and interpersonal strategies,” he says.
The full report of the RecruitPack ‘Social Media in Recruitment’ survey is now available at www.nuage-software.com/newsroom. The RecruitPack Applicant management and Assessment System (AMAS) is a service of Nuage Software Pty Ltd.
Nuage Software is the developer of RecruitPack®, an online service that has all the tools you need to professionally manage your entire recruitment process and quickly identify the candidates with the right attitudes, skills, experience and qualifications for each and every position.
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