There are many mixed reviews on using social media to recruit. As EEOC Attorney Ed Loughlin pointed out, it’s a legal minefield for employers. However he, and several of DirectEmployers Association Members, believe there is a place for social media and HR, it just requires proper planning and measuring.

During the DirectEmployers 2012 Annual Meeting & Conference, the topic of social media was prevalent in both leadership and recruiting tracks. We had the privilege of hearing from several Members as they shared their insight, lessons learned and recommendations.

Mira of TweetMyJobs moderating the social media panel

Mira Greenland of TweetMyJobs kicked off the social media dialogue with Social Media Recruitment: Challenges, Surprising Benefits and Realistic Applications. This panel session featured Sejal Patel of Intel, Chrissy Glover of Scottrade and Chloe Rada of Sodexo. Jeff Moore of Trip Advisor and Lisa Chartier of Philips North America joined virtually via a Google Hangout.

Panelists discussed social recruiting efforts on various platforms in addition to the importance of engagement. One panelist emphasized the importance of interaction and how an ignored post is the equivalent of not responding to emails or phone calls.

Chloe covered Pinterest basics and showed examples from their page. Sodexo’s boards include career videos, events, job seeker advice, job opportunities and company awards. Chloe recommended to help with tasks like scheduling and tracking metrics.

Alison Foy sharing Home Depot

Miko Covin, Maya Garner, Alison Foy, and Jacquese Brown of the Employment Marketing & Branding Group at Home Depot shared their journey into using social media to expand Home Depot’s employment branding. Mobile was also a key component in their approach. If a website is not mobile optimized, 40% of the audience will click off the site and move to a direct competitor’s page.

EEOC Attorney Ed Loughlin covering the legal aspects social media for employers

The next day, EEOC Attorney Ed Loughlin asked employers to remember one thing about the risks of social media in the workplace – hiding your head in the sand is not the solution. He reviewed protected categories under federal law and provided helpful references.

The session really livened up when Ed challenged the room with hypothetical situations and asked the audience for feedback or answers to a question. For example, if a management consulting company came down to two candidates, and the hiring manager wasn’t sure which one to choose, is it unlawful to search the candidates on Google to help come to a final decision?1

Alex Brown of Waste Management made his national speaking debut and helped the audience better understand how to manage platforms and find strength in their tools. He recommended evaluating a starting point and asking three key questions:

  • What are your goals?
  • What are your resources?
  • Who is your audience and where are they?

He showed the audience Waste Management’s .JOBS Microsite,, and explained the thought process behind tailoring the site to appeal to job seekers. Alex also illustrated how his company has repurposed content such as video to give candidates a consistent online engagement experience. He also touched on the importance of mobile, citing nearly 13% of website traffic is from mobile devices.

I can’t thank our presenters enough for the effort they put into creating such valuable sessions. Members can view these and all available DEAM12 presentations on Pipeline. On a related note, consider checking out the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Social Media Mashup on January 31, 2013. I’ll be presenting on social media strategy and mitigating risk.

1 Do not consider the blog to be a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your state or legal counsel in your organization. The following answer however was provided by Ed Loughlin, EEOC Attorney, during his session at DEAM12:

Nothing prohibits an employer from googling the candidates’ public information. There would be a problem, however, if an employer is subjecting one subset of applicants to a more thorough screening than others based on a protected status (disparate treatment).

An employer does have additional obligations if it assigns this background screening to a third party under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

And it is still possible for an employer to be held liable if it hires a third party to gather personal information on applicants.

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