Fighting Unemployment Discrimination via Facebook

Facebook has become a social-recruiting player yet again, this time in the form of one software provider’s campaign to end discrimination against the unemployed, as this story details.

The provider, Smart Recruiters, calls it the “Unemployed, Please Apply” campaign, accessible through its Unemployment Movement Facebook page. The title is a take on “Unemployed Need Not Apply,” a message that has been explicitly stated in job advertisements and is now under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Employment Law Project.

The campaign is asking that businesses visit the page and pledge their commitment to interview at least one unemployed candidate for every job opening. SmartRecruiters, a free-recruiting-software provider headquartered in San Francisco, says this problem is very real. According to a recent survey it conducted, 82 percent of recruiters, hiring managers and human resource professionals confirm that “discrimination against the unemployed is a reality.”

The survey also reveals 55 percent who say they have “personally experienced resistance when presenting a qualified, yet unemployed, candidate” and 53 percent who see unemployed job seekers as “unemployed for a reason” or “probably not qualified.”

Further proof of this discrimination can be found in this July 19 Leader Board blog post by Andrew McIlvaine, based on an analysis of job ads by NELP.  

“There is an unwritten rule that unemployed candidates just aren’t qualified,” says SmartRecruiters CEO Jerome Ternynck. “Not only is this bad business; it’s also unfair and needs to stop … .”

Last month, I blogged about Facebook’s announcement of a joint project with the U.S. Department of Labor called the “Social Jobs Partnership,” a Facebook page where job seekers could find a plethora of job openings and information from a host of organizations committed to putting America back to work.

“I am very disturbed when I hear that employers don’t want to even look at resumes of people who have been out of work for six minths or just [are] unemployed,” DOL Secretary Hilda Solis said at the partnership’s announcement. “It’s as though people have created this problem themselves, and that’s just not true.”

What do you think? You think you might take this new pledge plunge?