Would you hire a Technician that bashed their former employer on Facebook? How about if they posted pictures of themselves taking body shots at a bar? Googling potential new members of your practice is quickly becoming a staple in the hiring process for many vet clinics, large and small. Thirty-three percent of hiring managers reported in a recent survey that they did not hire a least one candidate in the past year based on information they discovered on the internet.
Informal internet searches as part of your hiring process can provide you with valuable information you would not necessarily have otherwise. Additionally, what a candidate publishes online is a reflection of both their judgment and personality, which are appropriate things to consider. However, there are some risks that you should be aware of when using this type of screening tool.
- Requiring candidates to give you access to their Facebook and MySpace pages has, so far, not been looked upon as acceptable by the courts in most cases. Keep in mind, however, that things in this arena are changing fast.
- Not everything on the internet is true, so posts created about your candidate by other people need to be taken with a grain of salt.
- All positions are not created equal. If you discover your candidate for your kennel assistant opening is tweeting about his large credit card debt, you need to ask yourself how important good credit is for that level position. You may be surprised to know the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), in particular, has very strong opinions on this as they feel not hiring a candidate for credit issues disproportionately affects women and minorities.
- Regardless of how you discovered the information (even if the candidate told you directly), not hiring a candidate based on a protected class (gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, martial status, etc) can still get you into legal hot water. Your goal is always to have a sound business decision on why a candidate was not hired, and the less you know about their protected status, the better.
- Surveys have found that a large majority of candidates with Facebook and MySpace pages were of the opinion that using information found on the internet about them in the hiring process is unethical, an invasion of privacy, and that it violates their free speech rights. While the argument is questionable, the perception is there and it should be something you are aware of when using this as a screening process.
- Any information you collect through a third party (meaning that you do not collect the information yourself) are covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act regulations. Most third parties will provide you with the appropriate forms, but it is your liability to make sure the rules are followed accordingly.
Finally, any candidate that applies to work with your clinic, regardless of if you hire them or not, could be a future client or even a future employee for a different position. While no one likes being rejected, the majority of candidates are just looking to be treated with respect and professionalism. Keep them updated on your process, ask them about issues you discover, and if you don’t hire them, send them a no thank you email or letter simply explaining that you hired another candidate that best met your needs. If it is a candidate that you think would be prefect down the line, let them know you are very interested in them for future openings and keep that door open. Good candidates are hard to find and the more we can cultivate those relationships, the better our future recruiting processes will go.