Social media has made it easier than ever to communicate with the entire world and has also become a valuable avenue to share information. Many employers have started utilizing social media platforms like Facebook to announce job postings and attract potential applicants. In many ways, taking advantage of social media’s broad user base can be an effective means of advertising. However, employers should also be aware of potential pitfalls.
A tailored approach to advertising
Facebook advertising offers certain advantages over posting your company’s job opening on a job site or your own website. On Facebook, you can define who sees your ad through a feature known as “audience targeting.” This option is an innovative approach to advertising because it allows you to specify the type of applicants you want your ad to reach based on certain criteria, including geographic location, interests and other personal attributes.
For example, let’s say you run a video game development company in Saint Cloud. You can tailor your job ad on Facebook to target residents within a 50-mile radius of the city who have an interest in video games and a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
What is the downside?
While Facebook ads can help you connect with a select subset of candidates, it is important to understand there are legal restrictions preventing you from tailoring your ads in a way that discriminates against certain groups of people. For example, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act forbids age discrimination against employees – or potential employees – who are 40 years of age or older. Therefore, creating a Facebook job posting that is only visible to younger candidates may be a form of discrimination.
While lawsuits surrounding discriminatory treatment of employees on the job more commonly receive media attention, it is also important to remember that excluding certain groups from an employment opportunity online may also be a violation of federal and state laws.
Established more than 100 years ago, Quinlivan & Hughes ranks among the oldest and largest law practices in Central Minnesota. The full-service law firm has growing legal teams in the areas of employment law, business law, government law, insurance defense, trust and estate planning, and general litigation. Learn more at Quinlivan.com.