Last week, I did a post over at Fistful as a reaction to a Workforce Recruiting article that featured employment law experts detailing the legal risks of the following items:
-Using social networks to recruit (at the expense of other, more traditional channels), and
-Googling candidates to uncover negative information and concerns...
You gotta have balance, and my stated concern with the information being laid down was as follows: There's still a sizable percentage of HR pros out there who are risk adverse to their own detriment and slow on the uptake to use new tools, especially those involving technology. So, they read cautionary tales like the one outlined by the legal eagles quoted in the Workforce article, and it reinforces the laziness at times. The rationalization goes something like this: "Hey, I've read several places that I can get sued for using those tools. So I'm not going to try to experiment with the tools".
The feedback came in to the post, both in comments and via email. Some agreed, some said I was discounting the legal exposure, some were in between.
Then, I had a face to face conversation with a SVP of HR for a major hospital in the Midwest (10K in employees, 80 folks in the HR shop). Here's' what he told me:
"We were getting ready to hire a Director of OD. Thought we had the right candidate, ready to make an offer. Because it was a high level placement, we took a look across the social media platforms and ended up finding information that showed the candidate did not fit our value system, especially what we require of our leaders. I'm not talking about drinking pictures, I'm talking about a part of her life that she was clearly hiding in the interview process.":
"I don't know what to tell you. If I make that hire and the info comes out later, which it absolutely would, my credibility as a HR leader is on the line. I probably survive, but the trust is probably gone and it would take me years to recover with the C-level. With that in mind, am I going to keep Googling candidates? You bet I am. I have to, I'm accountable. I don't have the choice not to seek the full profile of the candidate by any means necessary."
There are two camps of opinion on this. My take is that most people who are strong recruiters feel the pressure to know they're not only getting the best candidate possible, but also that they know they're getting the best cultural fit possible for their organization.
Can you afford not to look? The trenches tell me "no".