Overview: The ability to post job openings online coupled with the surge in the popularity of social media has greatly increased an employer's ability to recruit new talent. Other recruiting methods include employee referrals; traditional press advertising (newspapers, trade publications, magazines); professional organizations; and job fairs.
All of the above methods may prove fruitful for an employer. Word-of-mouth referrals can be effective, but relying too heavily on them also can lead to an applicant pool or workforce that is not particularly diverse. Press advertising is the oldest and most tried-and-true form of advertising job openings, but by its nature will reach a more limited number of people than does the Internet.
LinkedIn, Facebook, employer websites and other online resources offer wonderful opportunities for employers. For instance, LinkedIn users can search for open positions on the website and apply directly with their existing LinkedIn profiles. In addition, employers can post openings on external websites that provide users with lists of open jobs at numerous companies.
However, these new recruiting methods also bring a few risks because an employer now can learn an applicant's age, race and other characteristics fairly easily. And, as is true with more traditional recruitment methods, HR must use gender-neutral language to avoid running afoul of discrimination laws while also ensuring that its postings do not discourage members of protected groups, such as disabled individuals, from applying.
Trends: A hot trend employers should be aware of involves the proliferation of social media password protection laws. California, Illinois, Maryland and Michigan sparked this trend in 2012 by passing laws that ban employers from asking job applicants for the usernames and passwords to their personal social media accounts. Several other states have since passed similar measures.
Author: David B. Weisenfeld, JD, Legal Editor
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HR guidance on job applicant recruiting methods and legal risks.