According to a recent Workforce Management piece, recruiting on the likes of Twitter and Facebook could lead to allegations of discrimination and get you into legal trouble. Quoting various attorneys, author Fay Hansen suggests that the social networking world is both too young and White, leading to a risky recruiting process; moreover, she suggests that recruiters are relying too much on their Tweets.
The logic is a little suspect. Unless hiring under the terms of a consent decree, most organizations aren’t under any specific limitations in their sourcing efforts. Moreover, discrimination claims come from applicants, who presumably responded to a posting or advertisement. As such, it would be hard to sue a company on the grounds of discriminatory sourcing if you, in fact, applied at that company.
Few recruiters report that they recruit exclusively through social networking sites. However, plaintiffs could possibly use the strategy as evidence of intentional discrimination in a disparate treatment claim. At the very least, spending time sourcing on such sites but ignoring traditional candidate pools is simply limiting your strategy.
A more relevant concern not mentioned is using Facebook and MySpace profiles to make decisions about candidates. It seems that this is a widespread practice, though no rigorous studies can pinpoint its prevalence or how fast it’s growing. Nonetheless, this is often an undocumented process, something a recruiter does in the margins of a hiring initiative, though many candidates don’t maintain much of a social networking presence.
Judge for yourself by clicking over to Workforce Management here and be sure to check out the rather opinionated comments.