Just because your company is still deciding on whether or not to implement Social Recruiting into your overall recruiting strategy doesn’t mean you should delay setting a Social Recruiting policy. This can be a simple one-page of guidelines for appropriate use by employees based on the expected usage of these tools now or in the future. Being proactive about developing a usage policy will help avoid many of the issues that can result from a hands-off approach.
On the social web, the stakes are much higher due to the permanence of digital information. From Facebook status updates to Twitter tweets and everything in between, the ability to permanently store and quickly retrieve online information is real. This means that if mistakes are made that put your employment brand at risk, your company can continue to be affected by the permanence of online information well after an incident occurs. Let’s face it everybody makes mistakes. In fact, as more and more companies begin to use social media to achieve their objectives, mistakes are bound to happen. But there is no reason why your employment brand has to pay the price for mistakes that are already considered common knowledge.
Banning Usage Doesn’t Work
The growth of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social sites means that your employees are already or will soon be using these sites outside of work. This means that even if these sites are restricted at work, employees still have several hours each day to utilize these sites. In addition, if employees have web-enabled phones, they have an opportunity to get around the workplace restrictions to access these sites during business hours. The personal information most of these sites requests for an online profile creates a direct link between an employer and employee. As a result, impressions about your employment brand are formed based on these online interactions. Employees may not even be aware of the ramifications of a misguided status update or online picture. But, prospective candidates are looking for information to help them determine employers of choice.
Creates a Helpful Roadmap
The intent of setting boundaries for Social Recruiting isn’t to regulate every aspect of an employee’s online behavior. Since, employees using these sites and tools will have a variety of different vantage points; they will appreciate a roadmap. Especially for those employees that are new to social media, they may not realize how easy it is to spread content across the web. By giving them a heads-up about how social media works and what are the acceptable use cases, they will be more cognizant of appropriate behavior when using these tools. This mindset is beneficial for both the employee and employer.
As social media based tools gain further adoption, there will be lots of opportunity to gain benefits from their use. However, there is an equal opportunity to inflict unintended damage on an employment brand. Do your company a favor and proactively develop Social Recruiting boundaries.
--Omowale Casselle (@mysensay)
About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay, a social recruiting community focused on connecting talented college students with amazing entry-level employment opportunities. Our solution integrates social media tools, real-time web-based communication, and intelligent analytics to enable employers and students to discover, interact, and connect with each other.