One of the obligations of socially-conscious professionals is to “give back” to the community –
mentorships, presentations, cash, etc. Not that it is a heavy burden and I do what I can. Recently, I agreed to sit in on a focus group of HR professionals to strategize ways of attracting a diverse workforce to the
city, and our respective organizations. Our economic development group is very helpful to local companies with the problems they face and this is one of the ways they bring value. Once all of the pleasantries were exchanged, we got down to business and shared our best practices with companies who needed
The impact of social media was a big topic of discussion for recruiting in general– it’s cheap, it is
cutting-edge and it’s effective. But does the organization support it? 33% of the participants in that discussion said “no”.
So I checked out the Emerging Workforce Study done by Harris Interactive, Inc. and just published last week by Spherion. I found that little round table of folks is par for the course. The study revealed that only 22% of companies are using social media to find and reach candidates. Ok, fine. If I believed my own hype, I might have stopped there and felt pretty good about myself and my organization by comparison.
Then I got to thinking, is social media really all its cracked up to be for creating diversity in the
workplace? I have used social media for years in recruiting very hard-to-find design engineers and technology pioneers
and it works. The internet has always been a rich source for people of all backgrounds and talents so I never dug
into the demographics of social media websites. I never had to go that granular before with my sourcing metrics, as one category pretty much took care it – “Other Internet Source”.
Although websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are effective for finding web-savvy people, be
careful – the users of social media are predominately young and white. LinkedIn users, for example, are 2% Hispanic and 5% Black, (HR Strategist, 1/12/2010). If you recruit heavily from social media, make sure there is no
disparate impact in hiring. One sure way to do this on the front end is to vary your sources and not rely too heavily on one or two tools.
Social media does lend itself in other ways to a diversity strategy – by creating an employee branding
campaign, building a company reputation of inclusion and community service, and by engaging current employees, (increasing referrals and decreasing attrition). I would highly recommend using these to supplement any talent acquisition effort and make it more effective in reaching qualified candidates.
Lesson learned: use social media to find talent but do it responsibly and as part of a company-wide
strategy. Keep up-to-date on the latest research and findings from polls, surveys, and the experts in selection procedures. Make sure you know the pros and cons because the proverbial “sword” can cut both ways.
Works Cited:Emerging Workforce Study
, by Harris Interactive,
Inc. http://www.spherion.com/EW_Study/index.htmlHeed new legal risk of recruiting via Facebook, LinkedIn
the HRStrategist, 01/12/2010 http://www.thehrspecialist.com/29918/Heed_new_legal_risk_of_recruit...