Pitfalls of Using Social Media as an HR Tool

By Mikal E. Belicove|For Entrepreneur.com|April 30, 2010

On the surface, one would think job applicants wouldn’t want their prospective new bosses to know how drunk they got at a party the night before the job interview. But just how could a potential employer discover such things? Easily. It’s written all over the applicant’s Facebook wall for everybody to see and comment on. (Girl, you barfed behind the couch? OMG! BTW, remember when you got drunk and broke the vase at my mom’s house? LOL!)

Online social networks are virtually an information gold mine for human resources professionals and others who do the hiring. In fact, in a survey conducted by the executive search firm ExecuNet, three quarters of respondents claimed they use the web–and social media in particular–to screen potential job applicants. So, who’s LOL-ing now?

Using social networks as an employee-research tool is commonplace today, offering HR professionals instant access to all sorts of information about job candidates (and current staff). And–as with all advances in business–some built-in challenges and previously unseen complications are coming to light.

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