How difficult is it for a small business to recruit?  Assuming the business owner has a clear idea of exactly what are the desired characteristics of the ideal candidate, the process of advertising, reviewing applications, shortlisting, interviewing, conducting background checks and finally appointing is time-consuming and therefore costly.  

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In the end, incurring the expense of a recruitment specialist can be the cheaper option!  Who would have thought?

Of course, applicants who are serious about applying will present a favourable view of themselves through resumes and interviews.  It is the potential employer’s role to get behind the surface to make an informed appointment decision.

In the process, the employer must ensure that there is no violation of privacy laws or the discrimination provisions of the Fair Work Act.

The traditional methods of reference checking and insightful interview questions are still as relevant as they ever were.  However, the introduction of social media into the mix has produced a tricky two-edged sword.

I say “two-edged” because a candidate’s public profile can be very revealing but there will also be information that could lead to discriminatory recruitment decisions.  For those who haven’t looked lately, discrimination on the basis of race, religion, political opinion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, age, family responsibilities, national extraction or social origin is prohibited.

Clearly, information about these “terrible ten” will be available on social media for the employer who is diligent enough to add that layer of information-gathering to the recruitment process.  The challenge is to ensure that the basis for the selection decision is not affected by these.

Restricting the social media research to publically available information should not be seen as a breach of privacy legislation.  Insisting on a candidate providing full access (which I have heard happens sometimes), may lead to a very different outcome.  I’d suggest you seek legal advice if you want to try that!

Focusing on attitude, experience, career aspirations and cultural fit within your organization are more relevant criteria and will therefore be a sounder basis for your recruitment decision.  Unfortunately, you may be called upon to justify the non-discriminatory nature of your decision so, like so many aspects of business today, you need to keep records to support your decision.

Navigating between the icebergs of legislated discrimination, the façade provided by the candidates and the amount of relevant and irrelevant information available makes reaching the goal of “the most suitable candidate” very difficult.  Knowing someone who knows someone suitable may be the best outcome.

Candidates could significantly increase their chances of success by ensuring their social media profiles are consistent with the image portrayed in their resumes and the image they want for the job.

If you would like assitance with your recruitment "problems", why not contact our associated HR specialist at Exceler8.