Friday, September 26, 2014

SnapChat Recruiting: More Scary HR Tech Issues?

On Wednesday, during Thompson Information Services' #hrintelchat on social media in the workplace, the use of SnapChat as a recruiting tool came up. SnapChat is a social media tool where users can share photos or videos for a short period of time before the message disappears.  Being self-proclaimed worry-wart management lawyers, the idea of a dissolving job announcement or resume keeps us awake at night.

Take for example, Sober Lane, an interestingly-named pub in Dublin.  Sober Lane tweeted that it would only accept job applications using SnapChat, and recommended that applicants “Make an impression if you want a profession.”  Sober Lane has gotten significant press over its recruiting tactics, but American employers should be careful about adopting its methods.

Why?  As Eric B. Meyer so eloquently pointed out, employers have no obligation to keep recruiting records absent specific requirements (e.g. requirements for federal contractors, or knowledge of impending litigation).  Nevertheless, most employers do keep such records.  Recruiters’ records include job announcements, social media postings, applications, communications with candidates, interview notes, background checks, and much more. This information is kept so that if a recruitment ends up in controversy, records exist to support the employer’s decisions. Recruitment-related litigation includes issues of discrimination, breach of contract, violation of non-competition or misappropriation restrictions, or even negligent hiring (among others).

Employers and their lawyers often need recruitment records to defend against claims or charges of discrimination.  Without documentation to back up the selection process, jurors may use their imaginations to fill in what happened – sometimes presuming that what the plaintiff argues happened was what actually happened.  With recruiting over SnapChat,  records that may be needed self-destruct after ten seconds, presumably dissolving into the ether never to be found again.  Because the records existed and were seen, even for a few seconds, the failure to keep them for the moment that a judge or jury wants to see them creates credibility issues that could turn into liability issues.

SnapChat has amazing demographics and usage statistics, showing that it (and its competitors) could reach many potential applicants quickly on a trendy medium.  Reaching as many applicants as possible and being social media savvy are both admirable goals, but the risk of being without essential records when faced with litigation needs to be carefully considered before jumping into the next big thing. 

Posted by: Kate Bischoff