Posts Tagged: hire 2.0

Hiring in the age of social media: don’t be creepy

Leslie Poston's dog Faulkner ©Leslie Poston, Not for Reuse

Leslie Poston’s dog Faulkner ©Leslie Poston, Not for Reuse

An interesting question popped up in a social media group I frequent. It’s a common question, worth sharing here:

“How much weight do you give social media in the hiring process? I am finding more and more that as I review a candidate with the needed qualifications, unfortunately their Facebook, Twitter, etc reflects a person that I don’t want representing my business. Sometimes it’s unprofessional language, sometimes it’s negative comments about their current or past employers, sometimes it’s much, much worse. So is it possible to be two entirely different people (real life vs social life) or is their resume just created to land the job?”

My answer was:

“According to the NLRB employers can not request passwords or access to employee accounts, nor can they discriminate based on social media. It falls under the same protections as not being able to ask if they are pregnant, what religion they are, etc. This is a debate that has raged online since long before social media. Looking at personal social media is tricky at best. Looking at blog posts that demonstrate expertise, however, is different. It’s a fine line.

The ethics are clear to me. Even if you are overwhelmed by how many people apply for a job these days, even if you are a nice person, even if you mean no harm, even if you hold yourself at arms length and don’t ask for access, even if it makes your job easier, even if #allthereasons: if you would not be able to easily find out in a job interview or a reference check, it’s not something you should be using to determine hire. If you aren’t finding out what kind of person the applicant is in the interview, ask better [legal] questions. :)”

That this question is still asked so often is partially a testament that our laws have not caught up with our tech, in many cases. It also shows that when they have, people simply like things that are easy.

Blurred Lines in Social Hiring Practices

This week a brief Twitter debate about hiring practices sparked the idea for this post. One of the concepts I teach the companies I work with is the concept of the social company, and the ethics that go into becoming a truly social company. When you can use social media to find out anything about anyone, where do you draw the line?

One of my Twitter connections wanted to spark a discussion on unique hiring practices. His tweet about doing Spouse Interviews for new hires to find out about their personal lives happened to catch my eye, and I felt compelled to reply. Setting aside the legal ramifications of this practice, the ethical ramifications loom large to me. Everyone deserves to be able to separate work and life.

We’re in an age of dwindling privacy; of purposeful transparency and all of the ramifications of that lying under the surface as we march forward online playing our games, creating things, listening to music or watching movies, blogging, connecting to brands and people, and connecting to friends.

Even as I love the optimistic potential of the new technology landscape for health, connection, education, creativity and more, I am concerned with the divergence between that optimism and the positive ramifications of these technologies and the blurred ethical lines from people in positions of power. It’s not OK for an employer to require a Facebook password anymore than invading a potential employees life with a spousal interview is (and don’t get me started on the lack of understanding of the internet and these technologies in government that lead us to things like CISPA).

When hiring and looking to verify education, experience or other facts online, the same rules apply there as in the real world. It’s just that simple. This causes some interesting issues in an age where people can be careless with their privacy – posting public photos of their weekend warrior lifestyle or airing their private opinions in a way that becomes public (Facebook posts have led to several firings in recent years, and have become a common cause of divorces and other problems).

I’d love to hear from human resource managers, CEOs and others out there who are struggling with this new fire hose of information about potential employees at all levels. What kind of ethical decisions is this introducing into your company that you didn’t face before? Have you put policies in place to guide folks through this aspect of hiring in a tech age? Do you move forward assuming that if the person didn’t remember to set a privacy setting it “makes it ok” to use that info to make a decision? I’d love to get a dialogue going about this with you.

To spark your discussion, below is the conversation I had on Twitter that got my brain turning about this in more depth than just advising clients that professional social media sites like LinkedIn and professional blogs were great places for vetting employees but that personal social media sites are a touchier area.

December’s SMBNH Theme is Hire 2.0, See You There!

Register for Social Media Breakfast NH: Hire 2.0  in Portsmouth, NH  on Eventbrite

We hope to see you at our next SMBNH on December 10, 2010! Online signup closes on December 9, 2010.

You can read what Social Media Breakfast NH is all about, how Leslie started it many moons ago and who the awesome people on the SMBNH team are who make these breakfasts possible, like co-organizer Kevin, by heading over to the official blog and reading our About SMBNH page. There is also a mailing list in the side bar there – signing up means you will hear about these events first!

The Theme for December 2010’s Social Media Breakfast NH is Hire 2.0

We’ll be discussing how recruiters and human resources professionals are using the social web to find, vet and hire new employees, and how companies and job seekers can use these tools to their advantage to make their job search reach farther than it ever has before, become more hireable, and fix problems on social sites that may be preventing an employee from getting hired or a company from being seen as a desireable place to work  (that’s right businesses – this is a two way street these days).


8:30 – 9:00 AM Networking and Breakfast

9:00 – 9:05 Opening Remarks by SMBNH Founder Leslie Poston

9:05 – 9:10 Sponsor Remarks by Steve Butzel, Assistant Director, Portsmouth Public Library

9:10 – 9:25 Andrew White, Executive Recruiter, MRI

9:25 – 9:55 Speaker, TBC, Human Resources

9:55 – 10:10 David Gallant, Hubspot 

10:10 – 10:30 Group Q&A with all speakers at the front to field questions

We’re looking to make this breakfast something you can use to start your hiring practices and your job searches off on the right foot in 2011 and get you ahead of the curve.



We’d like to thank our venue sponsor, the Portsmouth Public Library.

Mission: Portsmouth Public Library is a gateway to reading, information, culture, community activities, and self-directed learning. It serves those who want to read, to learn, or to connect with our community and our cultural heritage. The library’s mission is one of sharing and it strengthens the community.

We’re looking forward to having them host us in December!

Library on Twitter @portsmouthlibnh

Facebook them at

Flickr connect via

Special thanks to Steve Butzel, Assistant Director, for making it happen. 

Note: The Library is not open for regular business before 9AM, they are making a special exception to open their doors early for SMBNH attendees only.


Tell your fellow NH VIPs that we’re looking for YOU to help make SMBNH 2011 amazing:

We’re looking for your help to direct the topics of the next year’s Social Media Breakfast NH! Won’t you fill out this quick form letting us know what you want to hear about for SMBNH 2011?

We’re also adding to our speaking roster for 2011 – have you always wanted your 15 minutes to share your knowledge with your SMBNH peers? Now is your chance! Tell us all about you and how you can help us increase our brain power at an SMBNH in 2011 on this form.


On Twitter

On Facebook

On LinkedIn

On The Web

By Email (Leslie) 

Updates and changes to this event, including confirmed speakers not yet listed, can be found on the blog.

Hashtags, TwitPitch And The 140 Resumé Make Hire 2.0 Easy

Are you prepared to be hired or to find freelancers, consultants and employees in this Hire 2.0 world? You may have a leg up if you follow Aaron Strout or others who preach Hire 2.0 strategies, or if you’ve read my thoughts on the matter here and elsewhere. But there is a key component to getting hired in this world of virtual, overlapping connection that can’t be over looked: the 140 character resume, hashtags and the business twit pitch.

The Twit Pitch

If you were on Twitter last year, you know that Stowe Boyd from /Message coined the term Twit Pitch and launched the idea of elevator pitches now being too long. This concept of having a Twitter-ready elevator pitch for your business is solid. As Search.Twitter becomes the search tool of choice for many, with semantic searches of your trusted network frequently supplanting even the mighty Google, now is the time to figure out how to fit everything you offer into 140 characters (or less, to take advantage of the powerful retweet, or RT network).

It sounds daunting, but I assure you it can be done. Once you have your Twit Pitch tweet formulated, go ahead and tweet it out. Even if you aren’t looking for staff, investors or customers, it can’t hurt to get your message out there. Then click the date stamp on it to open the tweet in its own window. Bookmark that page. Save it, and use it whenever you need to answer the question “What is it you or your company does, exactly?” via Twitter.

The Twitter Resumé

For individuals seeking work in this web world we live in, having a Twitter resumé is essential. It is searchable, succinct and a powerful way to convey how you can help businesses looking to hire via online tools. Stuart C Foster took this advice to heart today in response to my suggestion that a Twitter resumé would be easier for me to pass on to my network. He promptly provided a Twitter resumé that was powerful, and short enough for me to immediately share with my network.

My own Twitter resumé can be found on my bio page. It is a more literal interpretation, covering the major points found in my CV. However yours looks, make sure you take the extra time to whittle it down to its sharpest, most functional form.

Hashtags For Jobs

Hashtags have become a key tool to job seekers and companies looking to hire, as well as networks of people who use hashtags to direct their networks to jobs they come across but may not be interested in themselves. If you are a job seeker, adding the job related hashtags as they come up to your Search.Twitter arsenal is key to locating the best opportunities out there, as determined by your trusted network. You can add such hashtags as #jobangels, #RTJobs, #jobseekers, and more now, and keep you eyes peeled – more crop up daily.

If you are truly a social media whiz, you can not only make your Twitter resumé short enough to RT, you can hashtag it so you can see who forwards it on for you, or to fine tune it to a specific job. For example, a PHP whiz might end their Twitter resumé with #php to come up in searches about the topic. Keep in mind that you aren’t just showing up on Twitter with hashtags – Google indexes Twitter also, so you show up in Google searches for your keyword (hashtag) as well.

Happy hunting!