By: Melanie Berkowitz, Esq.
There’s no question that social media is changing the way business works -- and the trend goes well beyond marketing. Savvy companies are looking to social media trends to assist with their recruiting and hiring.
Lest you think social media is too complicated or just a phase, remember, a decade ago, using background screening to help with recruiting was still a novel idea. Before you jump in, make sure you understand the legalities of social media. Using a bit of common sense never hurts either.
Keep your Candidate Research Legal
One of the easiest ways to use social media is for recruiting to review an applicant’s own public postings and accounts, providing a better picture of him or her as a potential employee. But be careful. Once you review a candidate’s online profile, a court will assume you are aware of that person’s “protected characteristics” that are often part of their online postings.
These characteristics include gender and race as well as those that are not always evident in a face-to-face interview such as religion, age, sexual orientation or disability. In such cases employers need to be particularly careful not to expand their interview questions or decision-making beyond legal interview limits.
But what if a candidate’s profile suggests that he or she may not be appropriate for the position -- or even shows a lack of candor about their background or abilities? Here are a few such scenarios:
- A female candidate has numerous postings on her Facebook account about her “pig” of an ex-husband who constantly skips his time with their children, causing her to miss work at her current job.
- An applicant has applied for a job that requires heavy lifting and a lot of walking but whose online profiles reveals that he uses a cane.
“If you choose to review social media as part of your hiring practices, it’s a better practice to wait until after you’ve met a candidate face to face,” says David Baffa, labor and employment partner at national law firm Seyfarth Shaw, LLP. By using social media in this more targeted way, says Baffa, “you are less likely to be accused of making snap selection decisions or of relying on protected characteristics evident from a social network profile.” Mr. Baffa also counsels consistency:
- Be sure to print or save screen shots if you see something that causes you to question the candidate’s candor, professionalism or judgment.
- If you use an outside company to perform the background check, you must adhere to the requirements of the "Fair Credit Reporting Act.”
Use Social Media Info Legally
There is plenty of lawful information to be had from social media, though. Does your candidate have a Twitter account that she regularly updates with thoughtful “tweets”? Does his social media presence demonstrate a deeper interest in the type of job he is pursuing?
While social media should not be used to make final employment decisions, it can be used as an extension of the resume, a conversation starter that gives the interviewer a deeper understanding of the candidate. This is particularly true if familiarity with social media in business is needed for the position at issue. A candidate for a marketing job that knows how to market herself via Facebook should stand out among otherwise equally-qualified job seekers.
Review and Audit your own Social Media Presence
When it comes to using social media to research, remember, it goes both ways. Assume that applicants and new hires could be searching you and your company and even trying to figure out the identity of possible interviewers ahead of time.
Of course it would be ideal to have a strong social media presence that creates a strong company brand and supports your small business marketing strategy consumers and job seekers useful information about your company. But not every business has the time or resources to generate a social media marketing plan and online content strategy.
At minimum, make sure that whatever materials you have are accurate and legal. Things to consider:
- Make sure that your company’s profile states that the business is an “equal opportunity employer.”
- Do not make statements that could be construed as a promise of employment or business opportunity; particularly if the site is “live” and uses employees to add comments or blog postings. For example a job posting that states, “This is a great place to work,” is fine. Promising that “All applicants will be hired,” is obviously not.
- Know exactly who in your company or whether a third-party vendor is able to add to or change the content on the company’s profile; make sure that it is consistent with other marketing and advertising messages.
Treat “Bad” Social Media Information Delicately
Social media law is constantly evolving as in the ground-breaking NLRB Facebook case.
Although such cases will certainly give employer pause, an attorney familiar with employment issues, privacy, and the evolving law of social media can help determine the best course of action.
While it’s not always entirely clear what a potential employer can legally do with a candidate who has denounced his or her current boss on a social media site, you can create a social media policy as part of your social media strategy.
What about the more run-of-the-mill negative information that reflects poorly on the job candidate’s professional image -- such as pictures of a job applicant getting drunk and acting stupid, or comments that reveal ignorance or bigotry? Treat it the same way you would if you had gained the knowledge via the interview or in a resume.
But remember, a candidate may not control every image posted on a social media site, so consider the overall context. If you have lingering questions, consider consulting an attorney who is well-versed in social media before relying on negative information to justify an employment decision.
Give the Job Applicant Fair Notice
It’s not necessary to have an applicant sign a waiver that allows you to review his or her social media accounts; it is a best practice to give them a “heads up” that you will be reviewing any and all “publicly posted social media accounts.”
Chances are, if a candidate uses social media as an effective job-hunting tool, or has interesting things to say via social media, he or she is likely going to publicize their online presence anyway.
Legal Disclaimer: None of the information provided herein constitutes legal advice on behalf of Monster.
From employer branding and employee engagement to recruiting, we hope this collection of statistics drawn from sources like Bersin by Deloitte, KPMG, Edelman, Gallup and Glassdoor give you the actionable intelligence (and inspiration) to improve your own organizational reputation and talent acquisition efforts.
Employees who understand their contribution to the company's mission are more likely to bring a positive attitude and commitment to the workplace, which trickles down to company performance at every level. Research on engagement and company performance shows a strong correlation between the two, proving that employee engagement is crucial to business success.
- In 2015, 32% of U.S. workers were engaged. (Gallup daily tracking, January 2016)
- Fewer than half (49%) of employees would recommend their employer to a friend. (Glassdoor Data Labs, December 2015)
- Companies with employee engagement programs achieve 26% greater year-over-year increase in annual company revenue, compared those who do not have formal programs. (Aberdeen, October 2015)
- 87% of organizations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges, and 50% call the problem "very important." (Global Human Capital Trends 2015, Deloitte, February 2015)
- "Mission-driven" companies have 30% higher levels of innovation and 40% higher levels of retention, and they tend to be first or second in their market segment. (Becoming Irresistible, Deloitte, February 2015)
- Two-thirds (66%) of HR respondents report they are updating their engagement and retention strategies. (Global Human Capital Trends 2015, Deloitte, February 2015)
- While 90% of executives understand the importance of employee engagement, fewer than 50% understand how to address this issue. (Conference Board, cited by Deloitte University Press, January 2015)
- 62% agree their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review. (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016; *Updated from 69%, Glassdoor survey, October 2014)
- 72% of employees with socially encouraging employers are significantly more likely to help boost sales, compared to only 48% of employees whose employers aren't socially encouraging. (Weber Shandwick research study, April 2014)
- 70% of employees who lack confidence in the abilities of senior leadership aren't fully engaged. (Dale Carnegie)
- Increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year. (Workplace Research Foundation)
Your employer brand dramatically influences your ability to attract, influence, hire and retain top talent. Measuring, monitoring and improving an organization's reputation is becoming an important component of broader talent acquisition strategies for forward-thinking companies. For example, would current employees recommend your organization to a friend?
- 69% are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (e.g., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment). (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016; *Updated from 94%, Glassdoor survey, October 2014)
- 76% want details on what makes the company an attractive place to work. (Glassdoor survey, October 2014)
- Top five pieces of information job seekers want employers to provide as they research where to work: 1) Salary/compensation, 2) Benefits, 3) Basic company information, 4) What makes it an attractive place to work, 5) Company mission, vision, values. (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016)
- 69% would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed! (Corporate Responsibility Magazine / Allegis Group Services Study, August 2012)
- 84% would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent corporate reputation. And most in $75-100K salary range would only require a 1-10% salary increase to consider such a move (Corporate Responsibility Magazine / Allegis Group Services Study, August 2012)
- 84% of companies believe a clearly defined strategy is key to achieving employer branding objectives (Employer Brand International Global Research Study)
Leadership and Management
It's often said that culture is set from the top down. But direct managers have just as much impact on employee engagement as top leaders. By recruiting, training and retaining strong managers and executives, companies create an environment of trust that will naturally improve employee engagement and increase retention rates.
- The average CEO approval rating on Glassdoor is 69%. (Glassdoor Data Labs, December 2015)
- 84% of organizations anticipate a shortfall in the minimum number of qualified leaders over the next five years. (State of Leadership Development 2015, Brandon Hall, August 2015)
- Managers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually. (State of the American Manager, Gallup, April 2015)
- One in two employees have left their job to get away from their manager at some point in their career. (State of the American Manager, Gallup, April 2015)
- 35% of managers are engaged, 51% are not engaged and 14% are actively disengaged. (State of the American Manager, Gallup, April 2015)
- Only 18% of current managers have the high talent (that unique combination of talents needed to help a team achieve excellence in a way that significantly improves a company's performance) required of their role. (State of the American Manager, Gallup, April 2015)
- Employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged than those supervised by actively disengaged managers. (State of the American Manager, Gallup, April 2015)
- High-performing companies spend 1.5 to 2 times more on leadership than other companies, and reap results that are triple or quadruple the levels of their competitors. (Global Human Capital Trends 2015, Deloitte, February 2015)
- 86% of global HR and business leaders cite leadership as a top issue for 2016. (Global Human Capital Trends 2015, Deloitte, February 2015)
- More than two-thirds of Millennials believe it's management's job to provide accelerated development opportunities to encourage them to stay. (Becoming Irresistible, Deloitte, February 2015)
- Only 26% of employees agree "my employer listens and responds well to me." (Employees Rising, Weber Shandwick, April 2014)
- Only 17% of employees highly rate communications from their company's top leader and senior leadership. (Employees Rising, Weber Shandwick, April 2014)
Today, filling positions in a candidate-driven market is more expensive and takes longer. Therefore, it's in an employer's best interest to proactively optimize recruiting practices and focus on retention, so that changing jobs is not the fastest way to a promotion.
- 89% of Glassdoor users are either actively looking for jobs or would consider better opportunities. (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016)
- 57% of Glassdoor visitors are employed either full-time or part-time. (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016)
- One in three employers are concerned voluntary exits will increase. (Harris Poll for Glassdoor, February 2015)
- $4,000 is the average amount U.S. companies spend to fill an open position. (Talent Acquisition Factbook 2015, Bersin by Deloitte, April 2015)
- It takes an average of 52 days to fill an open position, up from 48 days in 2011. (Talent Acquisition Factbook 2015 2015, Bersin by Deloitte, April 2015)
- 48% of small businesses report there are few or no qualified applicants for the positions they are trying to fill. (NFIB, November 2015)
- 51% of employees are considering a new job. (Workforce Panel, Gallup, November 2015)
- The top two obstacles to increasing headcount are a shortage of candidates (31%) and lengthy hiring practices (27%). (Recruiter Sentiment Study 2015 2nd Half, MRI Network, December 2015)
- 47% of declined offers in the second half of 2015 were due to candidates accepting other jobs, up 10 points from the first half of 2015. (Recruiter Sentiment Study 2015 2nd Half, MRI Network, December 2015)
- 90% of recruiters say the market is candidate-driven in 2015, up from 54% in the second half of 2011. (Recruiter Sentiment Study 2015 2nd Half, MRI Network, 2015)
- Top 5 pieces biggest considerations job seekers take into account before accepting a job offer: Salary and compensation, Career growth opportunities, Work-life balance, Location/commute, Company culture and values. (Glassdoor survey, October 2014)
- 78% of sales professionals said they would accept less money to work at a company selling something compelling. (Glassdoor survey, June 2014)
- 94% of sales professionals say that base salary is the most important element of the compensation plan, while 62% say that commission is. (Glassdoor survey, June 2014)
- 66% of healthcare professionals are likely to accept less money to work at a company with a great culture. (Glassdoor survey, April 2014)
- 78% of software engineers say the top reason they would leave their job is salary and compensation. (Glassdoor survey, January 2014)
- 48% of female software engineers are likely to apply to a company a friend recommended. (Glassdoor survey, January 2014)
- More than half (52%) of hiring decision makers say passive candidate sourcing has been less effective for their company. (Harris Poll for Glassdoor, 2014)
- More than two-thirds (67%) of employers believe retention rates would be higher if candidates had a clearer picture of what to expect about working at the company before taking the job. (Harris Interactive Survey for Glassdoor, 2014)
- 46% of Glassdoor members are reading reviews when they have just started their job search and have not yet spoken with a company recruiting or hiring manager. (Glassdoor survey, September 2013)
- On average, each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes. Of these candidates, four to six will be called for an interview and only one will be offered the job. (ERE Survey, 2013)
Company reputations suffer because they undervalue and underinvest in workforce diversity. By limiting their options and awareness programs, organizations miss out on quality candidates.
- 67% of active and passive job seekers say that when they're evaluating companies and job offers, it is important to them that the company has a diverse workforce. (Glassdoor survey, July 2014)
- More than half (57%) of people think their company should be doing more to increase diversity among its workforce. (Glassdoor survey, July 2014)
- 41% surveyed do not think their company has a diverse executive team. (Glassdoor survey, July 2014)
- 48% of employees are not aware of initiatives to increase diversity within the company they work for. (Glassdoor survey, July 2014)
- When we asked who at their company was in the best position to increase diversity, the top three answers were: Hiring managers (45 percent), the CEO (42 percent), HR (40 percent). (Glassdoor survey, July 2014)
Mobile is quickly overtaking desktop as the preferred job application channel. If you're a tech company recruiting tech talent but don't have a mobile-ready careers page, you may be preventing nearly half of your potential talent pool from applying for your open positions.
- 45% of job seekers say they use their mobile device specifically to search for jobs at least once a day. (Glassdoor survey, April 2014)
- 54% read company reviews from employees. (Glassdoor survey, April 2014)
- 52% research salary information. (Glassdoor survey, April 2014)
- 89% believe a mobile device is an important tool for job searching (Glassdoor survey, April 2014)
- 48% think mobile devices will be the most common way to search for jobs in two years or less. (Glassdoor survey, April 2014)
- 59% say it is important to be able to save a job from their mobile device and later apply to the job on a desktop (Glassdoor survey, April 2014)
- 90% of the Fortune 500 company career sites do not support a mobile apply solution. (iMomentous, Corporate Mobile Readiness Report, 3rd Edition, 2013)
Millennials are set to dominate the work force by 2025. Are you ready to recruit from this generational talent pool? Things that matter to them are growth opportunities, retirement benefits and work culture.
- Most Baby Boomers (41%) said workers should stay with an employer at least five years before looking for a new job—only 13% of Millennials agreed. (PayScale & Millennial Branding Third Annual Study, November 2014)
- 76% of Millennials say that retirement benefits offered by a prospective employer are a major factor in their decision to accept a job offer. (Transamerica Center, July 2014)
- Nearly 80% of Millennials look for people and culture fit with employers, followed by career potential. (Collegefeed, March 2014)
- Around 70% of Millennials say they hear about companies through friends and job boards. (Collegefeed, March 2014)
- 64% of Millennials would rather make $40K a year at a job they love, than $100K a year at a job they think is boring. (The Columbus Dispatch, Study Conducted by the Intelligence Group, 2014)
- 65% of Millennials said that they are more skeptical of claims made by employers now than they were in 2011. (CEB Survey, 2014)
- 60% of Millennials consider the most attractive perk to be growth opportunities (Glassdoor survey, March 2013)
- 46% of Millennials left their last job due to lack of career growth. (Glassdoor survey, March 2013)
- 98% of companies still believe on-campus fairs are still the best way to brand themselves with students. (NACE Survey, 2013)
From books to tires to dentists, virtually no aspect of life has escaped online reviews. Company response to reviews has become increasingly important, particularly for high-touch products and services. Employers are no exception. Acknowledging faults, thanking people for their contributions and publicly committing to improvement are new expectations in the era of transparency.
- 61% of Glassdoor users report that they seek company reviews and ratings before making a decision to apply for a job. (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016)
- 62% of Glassdoor users agree their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review. (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016)
- The majority of job seekers read at least six reviews before forming an opinion of a company. (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016)
- Top five pieces of information job seekers want employers to provide as they research where to work: (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016): 1) Details on compensation packages, 2) Details on benefits packages, 3) Basic company information, 4) Details on what makes the company an attractive place to work, 5) Company mission, vision and values
- 80% of shoppers conduct research online before making a purchase over $500. (Fourth Annual Major Purchase Consumer Study, Synchrony Financial, November 2015)
- Seven in 10 Americans seek out advice and opinions before making purchases. (American Lifestyles 2015, Mintel, June 2015)
With 76% of all U.S. Internet users on social media (Pew Internet, October 2015), social channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become increasingly popular for employer communication and employee recruitment. By encouraging and training leaders and employees to use social media on the company's behalf, employers can generate goodwill and provide a first-hand view of life at the company for customers, candidates and future employees.
- Three-quarters of U.S. respondents believe that companies whose C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about core mission, brand values and purpose are more trustworthy. (The Global Social CEO Survey 2014, Brandfog)
- 39% of employees have shared praise or positive comments online about their employer. (Employees Rising, Weber Shandwick, April 2014)
- 61% of U.S. respondents and 50% of U.K. respondents are more likely to purchase from a company whose values and leadership are clearly communicated through executive leadership participation on social media. (The Global Social CEO Survey 2014, Brandfog)
- There is a 50% increase in employees recommending company's products or services when the employer encourages social sharing. (Weber Shandwick, Employees Rising, 2014)
- Only 33% of employers encourage employees to use social media to share news and information about their work or employer. (Weber Shandwick, Employees Rising, 2014)
- 79% are likely to use social media in their job search. (Glassdoor survey, March 2013)
- 86% of people in the first 10 years of their career are likely to use social media in their job search. (Glassdoor survey, March 2013)
- Nearly 2 in 3 say their employer does not (or know how to) use social media to promote job openings. (Glassdoor survey, March 2013)
- Nearly 3 in 4 say their employer does not (or know how to) promote their employment brand on social media. (Glassdoor survey, March 2013)
- 2 of the top 3 channels most used for employer brand promotion are their website (92%) and social media (80%) (Universum, 2013)
Trust and Transparency
Issues of trust are relevant to both employees and consumers. After all, every employee is also a consumer, and more likely than ever to consult reviews or other information online before making important decisions. More and more, candidates want realistic job previews when they apply to open positions. Being transparent about the pros and cons of your organization sets everyone up for long-term success.
- 90% of job seekers say that it's important to work for a company that embraces transparency. (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016; *Updated from 96%, Glassdoor survey, October 2014)
- Most job seekers read at least six reviews before forming an opinion of a company. (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016; *Updated from four to seven reviews, Glassdoor survey, October 2014)
- 32% of senior executives say building trust is one of their biggest challenges, second only to expansion and top line growth over the next one to two years. (KPMG Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind Survey, June 2015)
- Nearly two-thirds (63%) of consumers refuse to buy products and services from a company they do not trust, while 58% will criticize that organization to a friend or colleague. (Edelman 2015 Trust Barometer, January 2015)
- 80% of consumers choose to buy products from companies they trust, and 68% will recommend those companies to a friend. (Edelman 2015 Trust Barometer, January 2015)
- Although content provided by friends and family is still the most trusted (72%), content provided by employees is trusted by 52%. (Edelman 2015 Trust Barometer, January 2015)
- Employees rank as the most trusted influencers when communicating about their company's engagement and integrity. (Edelman 2015 Trust Barometer, January 2015)
- Nearly 75% of executives believe "our consumers demand transparency." (Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind Survey, June 2015)
- 90% of job seekers find the employer perspective useful when learning about jobs and companies. (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2015)
- 78% of job seekers say that ratings and reviews from those on the inside are influential when deciding where to work. (Glassdoor survey, September 2014)
- 61% of employees say new job realities differ from expectations set during the interview process. (Glassdoor survey, May 2013)
- 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad reviews. (Revoo Insight research, 2013)
- 95% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don't see bad scores. (Revoo Insight research, 2013)