Caution – Using Online Information To Not Hire Someone

Q:  Is there a legal problem if a company looks online, and then uses this information as part of a no-hire decision?

This is one of the hottest topics for many companies right now. Most companies are using the Internet in some form to check out candidates before they hire someone. I would suggest checking with your labor attorney to make sure you aren't violating any federal or state laws. In addition, it is becoming more important that companies protect themselves by having some social media or Internet policy.

Since this is beyond my scope I asked Laura Fleming, a labor attorney and partner with the Newport Beach law firm Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, for her advice.

It is lawful to check publicly available, online information regarding a candidate.  However, there is a caveat.

Employers may not discriminate based on any “protected class” (race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation or veteran status).  An employer's online search will likely uncover much information irrelevant to the job position, including protected class information.  Thus, if a manager does conduct Internet background searches, they must not allow irrelevant, protected class information to influence the hiring decision.

In addition, since some online data is shared only with certain parties (for example, Facebook information which is limited to friends), employers should not use deceptive or intrusive means to view such information, as this could lead to an invasion of privacy claim.

If a manager discovers publicly available information regarding a candidate, they may use such information to reject the candidate, as long as they are not making that decision because of any protected class.  For example, it is lawful to reject candidates because of inappropriate pictures or comments, or even political views that are incompatible with the employer's culture (although this may eliminate an otherwise terrific candidate).  Again, the employer must ensure that such criteria is not intertwined with any protected category.

You can explore our audio library, download free examples of compelling marketing statements, download a summary of our research project that identifies the biggest hiring mistakes, and get our culture assessment tool by clicking the links. All of these are free.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please forward this to your contacts on Facebook, LinkedIn, or anyone you think would benefit from this post.

Brad Remillard

You Can Shorten Your Hiring Process

Q. We are a mid-size company that doesn’t hire that often. It seems that when we want to hire it takes a long time just to find qualified candidates. Is there a way to shorten the time it takes to hire someone?

A. Hiring fast rarely includes hiring the very best. The best way to shorten the time it takes to hire someone is to have a pool of qualified people available when you need them. The problem is that most companies start the hiring process when they need someone, which often happens after one of their best people just gave notice. Companies then expect that at that exact moment in time a highly qualified candidate will also be searching, the stars will magically align and they should be able to hire this person. Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you were looking, highly qualified candidates were also looking? It just doesn’t work that way. Most hiring processes are reactive. To change your situation your hiring process must become proactive.

Highly qualified candidates don’t search based on your hiring schedule. They search based on their schedule, so hiring can’t be a one time event that happens when you decide you are ready to hire someone. This option will only provide you the best available candidates at that moment in time. Companies that excel at hiring top talent know that hiring is a process and having a queue of qualified candidates is critical. Your hiring managers should always be on the lookout for potential people, even if your company only hires once a year. Every manager should have at least two or three potential candidates for the key positions in their department. This means that your hiring managers will have to dedicate at least some time each month to hiring. They should engage potential hires, identify who might be a potential hire, attend professional groups where these potential hires exist, respond to unsolicited resumes that have potential instead of deleting them, use LinkedIn to connect with potential candidates and follow up with potential candidates when contacted. None of these takes a lot of time to do, maybe an hour a month. These small things can dramatically shorten the time it takes to hire someone and also increase the quality of those hires.

You can explore our audio library, download free examples of compelling marketing statements, download a summary of our research project that identifies the biggest hiring mistakes, and get our culture assessment tool by clicking the links. All of these are free.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please forward this to your contacts on Facebook, LinkedIn, or anyone you think would benefit from this article.

Brad Remillard

Can Social Recruiting Help You Find Top Talent?

Are you moving down the path of implementing a social recruiting strategy?

Social Recruiting – Everyone's talking about it – no one's doing it!

What is Social Recruiting?

Social Recruiting is using the various social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to improve the flow of top talent for current and future positions. This post is an introduction to some of the benefits and tactics of using Social Recruiting to find candidates, such as sales professionals, create an employer brand, and present your company in a positive light to attract candidates who already have a good job. Leveraging Social Recruiting also allows you to engage with potential candidates for future roles by engaging, nurturing, sustaining, and communicating over a period of time to create a Just-in-Time recruiting pipeline.

In subsequent blogs posts, we'll delve into each of the various services, tools, and techniques you can leverage to begin attracting top talent.

Social Recruiting Benefits

What are some of the benefits of using Social Recruiting to find and engage with top talent at every level in your organization?

  • The activities do not have to be centralized in HR. All Hiring Managers and Executives can participate
  • Inexpensive or FREE
  • Easy to learn the proper techniques and tactics
  • Simple to implement
  • Low time investment
  • Branding, PR, and marketing side benefits
  • Creates a powerful recruiting message (also known as employer branding)
  • Ability to engage with future high potential candidates

Sounds almost too good to be true. You're probably wondering “what's the catch”. It cannot be that simple.

The good news is that using Social Recruiting to find, engage, develop, nurture, sustain conversations with top talent at every level is truly that easy. Of course there is a small learning curve. Of course there is an initial investment to get everything set up properly. Of course it requires the involvement and participation of your hiring managers and executives.

Another huge benefit is that you can STOP paying expensive recruiting fees when you can do much of this work on your own.

Most of you know that I make my living primarily through executive search. This might sound like I'm cutting off my future incoming stream by recommending you start using Social Recruiting instead of recruiters. I'm going to suggest that most companies waste a lot of money on recruiters for positions they could have easily filled through Social Recruiting.

How Can You Get Started with Social Recruiting?

These techniques are so powerful that my partner, Brad Remillard and I will begin in August offering a series of webinars on using Social Recruiting. Our first one will be “How to use LinkedIn to Find Great Sales Professionals.” We're excited about this webinar series and we'll be structuring a series of tools (FREE of course) to use in establishing and building your Social Recruiting capability.

Here are some questions to consider as you start to look at implementing a Social Recruiting Strategy:

  • What are some of the tactics and best practices available to you for Social Recruiting?
  • Blogging – especially having employees share their successes and joy at working in your company
  • Forums and Discussion Groups – featuring stories about the contributions your employees are making to your company
  • LinkedIn – Strong Branding through a profile, audio, powerpoint, case studies, Q&A, active participation in groups
  • Linked and Facebook – searching for potential employees
  • Twitter – Job Postings
  • Industry Sites/Trade Association Social Networking
  • Are you leading your industry/business segment in using these tools?
  • What steps have you taken so far in implementing a Social Recruiting Strategy?
  • Do you have any good success stories to share with other Vistage Members?
  • Are you wondering where and how to get started?
  • What's the one thing you need to know to get started on implementing a Social Recruiting Strategy?

Stay tuned as we tackle all the various best practices in implementing a Social Recruiting Strategy.


P.S. Hold the date for our upcoming Webinar on Using LinkedIn to Find Sales Professionals – August 26

graphic by Robert Scoble

Using One Degree Of Separation To Hire Sales People

One of the major failure points in hiring top talent is not being able to find enough qualified top talent candidates. Most companies use traditional methods to find great candidates. The result of using these traditional methods like advertising, light networking, and job fairs –  is that most companies bring the bottom third of the candidate pool to their doorstep. In this recording of our live show, we share a key element of our Success Factor Methodology in finding great talent – a networking technique we term “One Degree of Separation.”

Click here to listen live or download.

Can’t Find People? They Are Hiding In Plain Sight – 3 Examples

Finding people is a consistent problem we encounter just about every time we ask CEOs or key executives what their biggest issue is when it comes to hiring. If it isn't in the top three it is always in the top five.

Yet when you ask them what their process is to find top talent most reply in the same way, “We run ads” or “We post it internally.” That is the way 80% of all companies go about finding people.

Below are three real life examples of alternative ways of finding people.

1) In 2007, I was having lunch with a partner from a local CPA firm. During lunch he commented that they had been struggling for six months to find an audit manager. In fact, he commented that they would pay a $10,000 bounty for an employee referral. I didn't add a zero. So I asked, “How many people have you hired?”  The reply, “None.” They were doing the usual, running ads and asking current employees. That was their process for finding people.

So as the lunch continued, he mentioned to me that they had just brought on a new client and that he had just had lunch with the new CFO at this same restaurant. I immediately asked the partner, “Did you ask the CFO who was the best audit manager at his current company?” or “Who were some of the best audit managers he had worked with in the past?” He had never even thought of this. I suggested that he could contact all of his CFO clients and ask them. After all, it is in the client's best interest to have good audit managers.

This was such an obvious thing to me and yet he was willing to pay ten grand. For those of you thinking it takes too much time to find good people, I don't think asking these few questions would have extended the lunch that much.

2) Last year I was conducting one of our in-house workshops for a mid-sized technology company in New York. During the workshop, one of the key executives mentioned how difficult it is to hire technical people. I probed a little further and asked about the type of people they hire. She commented that they want people comfortable with technology. People who understand how networks work, people who diagnose a computer problem when a client calls with a problem, install software, and perform basic repairs that clients need right away if something goes wrong. They were willing to train on their specific systems and software. They just wanted someone that was moderately technical and comfortable with technology.

These people were “extremely” hard to find.

I asked if they ever go to Best Buy and engage the Geek Squad. Have they ever taken in a computer and found someone that provides great customer service and demonstrates that they understand technical issues?

She and her team had never thought about these people. I received an email two months after the workshop letting me know they had hired two people from Best Buy.

3) My best friend manages a store for one of the major retail chains. Every time we play golf, I have to listen to him complain about how hard it is to find people willing to work. He even mentioned it to me once, how every month he gets his business card order printed from Houston Printing Services and gives them out t anyone he finds potential in, hoping they would call to schedule an interview. He complains that his company works people hard and is demanding. The result is a lot of turnover.

So I asked him how often when he or his team is out shopping and they come across a great person in another retail chain do they engage the person, give them a business card and ask the person to call him, or let the person know that if they ever think about leaving to call him.

I mentioned that I go to a coffee shop most mornings when I'm in town for an hour of work. At this coffee shop, every person is probably in their late teens and early twenties. These people run the coffee shop. They open every morning at 6 AM so they have to get there by 5:30, they are friendly, they know customers by name, the coffee shop is clean and they are great employees. So I asked if he ever asked any of them about potentially coming to work a his store.

In both cases he replied no, and that he doesn't even encourage his team leaders to be aware of potential employees when they are out shopping.

Qualified people are all around us. As a recruiter, I always have my antenna up. Most CEOs and hiring managers just walk right by these people. Work with  your team and start noticing people hiding in plain sight.

Download our Hiring Process Self Assessment Scorecard and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your hiring system. CLICK HERE to get your assessment.

Get our most popular chapter “Sourcing Top Talent” from our best selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired” which is available for Free to download. CLICK HERE to get the chapter.

Consider joining our LinkedIn group,  Hire and Retain Top Talent. This group is dedicated to discussions and articles to help  you improve your hiring and retention. CLICK HERE to join the group.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard