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Dangers of the Gram - how not to do marketing recruitment on social media

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Dangers of the Gram - how not to do marketing recruitment on social media

Karen Lloyd social media, employer, HR...

Only just a few months ago we were writing about the dangers of checking a candidate’s personal social media profile prior to interviewing them.  This company on the other hand took it to a whole different level!

Based in the States, a marketing company requested a social media handle for either Facebook or Instagram from a prospective marketing candidate.  Note – at this point they had no contact beyond a CV.  They had not spoken to the candidate or met them face to face as part of their marketing recruitment process to assess whether she had the skills and experience or might be a suitable fit for their team.

She provided an Instagram handle as requested and heard nothing more.  At this point, you may think nothing too unusual. 

That was until this marketing candidate visited the company’s own Instagram page.  There she found the company had lifted an image of her in a bikini and reposted it to their page with the following “advice” on professionalism. 

"I am looking for a professional marketer - not a bikini model.”
"Go on with your bad self and do whatever in private.
But this is not doing you any favors in finding a professional job.”

Your marketing recruitment team did what now?

Now, I know this was in the States and their workplace practices do differ slightly to the UK, but I was flabbergasted.

Firstly, in my opinion this is bad marketing recruitment practice.  Asking for a candidate’s profile details prior to meeting them is risky as we discussed previously; you open yourself up to potential accusations of discrimination from the start.

It also colours your view of a candidate before you’ve even met them.  You should be recruiting based on marketing skills, experience and team fit.  A personal and professional persona can be very different things and do not necessarily impact on that marketer’s ability to do the job.

In addition, if you request a personal profile – you must expect to see the candidate’s personal life.  In this instance, she was not dressed inappropriately for the environment she was in.  A bikini at a swimming pool, even if it is a bit risque is not extreme last time I checked!

One thing I would very much like to know is who gave this to the social media bod to post in the first place?  This is a marketing company for goodness sake!  How has the management team responsible for marketing recruitment and especially HR team allowed this to be made public?  

They may have felt the candidate wasn’t suitable, but why on earth would you feel it appropriate to shame that candidate publicly?  If it was to attract a different type of person, then it backfired massively.  It has generated a huge amount of negative PR, not to mention the social media backlash causing them to make their own social media accounts private.

OK, and breathe…  rant over.  It obviously wasn’t the best move on this marketing company’s part when recruiting a new marketer and it is an extreme case.  I’m sure very few of us would consider publicly shaming candidates a good move, but it does highlight the dangers of making decisions based on what you might see on a candidate’s private profile.  We must accept that we all have personal lives and they might not always gel seamlessly with our professional personas; it is not always a bad thing.

If you could do with a helping hand for your marketing recruitment, doing social properly or a general recruitment drive then drop us a line.  We'd love to help!

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