Social Media, Recruitment and the Law!

A few weeks ago Harrison McMillan sat on a panel to discuss Social Media, Recruitment and the Law.  We think this is a really worthwhile topic so we thought it would be great to share some insights.

Social media is a tool that is highly used within the recruitment industry. It is no longer a new tool and has become status quo across organisations where 92% utilise social media in some form throughout their recruitment process.

The term ‘Social Recruiting’ is used regularly and this is the technique of using a variety of social media platforms to attract and source candidates.  The most widely used social media platform for recruitment is LinkedIn, however Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are also regularly used.

So with over 92% of organisations using ‘Social Recruiting’ as part of their recruitment process, what do we need to know about the risks and the laws associated with this practice?


  • THE LAW: There are actually no specific laws aligned with ‘Social Recruiting’ and viewing someone’s social media profile is an accepted assessment method in conjunction with viewing their resume or their application letter. However it is worth remembering that other laws and acts still apply, such as the Fair Work Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. When viewing someone’s social media platform ensure you are not making any decisions that could be counted as discrimination. Ensure you are not making an assessment of people based on race, sex, age, gender and religious views and ensure you make sure your assessments are in line with your own internal corporate policies.


  • DOCUMENT YOUR PROCESS: If you are choosing to use ‘Social Recruiting’ make sure you are documenting the process you are following and the assessments you are making. If you do find something on their profile that causes you to question the candidate’s candor, professionalism or judgement, ensure you take a screen shot or save their profile to back up your assessment if questioned.


  • CONSISTENCY IS KEY: Ensure your approach is consistent. If you are choosing to use ‘Social Recruiting’ ensure your process is consistent and fair for all candidates. For example first round screening will include resume assessment, for the shortlisted candidates second round will include assessing their social media pages and all shortlisted candidates’ social media pages will be assessed.


  • IT’S A TWO WAY STREET: The majority of candidates will have a look at a company’s website and social media pages however it is worth noting that 65% of candidates will also look at the personal profiles of the Hiring Manager. As a Hiring Manager is your profile up to date? What does your profile say about you?


Social media is a great tool for recruitment and we highly recommend it being included as part of your best practice recruitment process however we cannot stress enough to not make assumptions about people purely based on their social media profiles. If in doubt or you find areas of concern use this information to create tailored interview questions to allow you to further probe into their skills, abilities, knowledge and cultural fit of the candidates against your open vacancy.

To find out more about how Harrison McMillan’s unconventional hourly rate recruitment model has been assisting organisations reduce their recruitment-related costs and time pressures while ensuring they are still attracting, recruiting and selecting the right people visit