Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: facebook

The Blurred Lines in Online Job Postings

The Blurred Lines in Online Job Postings

Our job application advice regularly states that you should not apply to jobs for which you aren’t the least bit qualified. Clients provide job descriptions with mandatory requirements and qualifications to perform the task for good reason — the successful IT contractor needs to do the work successfully and those requirements weed out the unqualified candidates. While job seekers should respect points that exclude them based on skill, there is no place for discriminatory exclusions within a job posting.

Generally, in Canada, it is illegal for any employer to post a job posting that discriminates against applicants. More specifically, in Ontario, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) says “Job ads and postings should not contain statements, qualifications or references that relate either directly or indirectly to race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, record of offences, age, marital status, family status or disability.” Although it’s rare today to see job postings with statements like “must be a strong man” or “good-looking women only”, subtle nuances can exist and it’s up to the employer or staffing agency to ensure they are following the law.

More controversial in the past year has not been the what of a job posting, but more the where. The same OHRC website also provides information about how employers should post jobs to avoid discrimination, suggesting they avoid simple word-of-mouth-referrals and personal networks, as well as advertising only in mainstream media. Each of these forms could exclude qualified candidates.

More interesting, though, is a CBC investigation published in April 2019 related to discrimination using Facebook ads. When a company posts a job to Facebook, it is visible and available to the entire user base; however, the lines blur when looking at paid ads for those job postings. A benefit to Facebook advertising is being able to drill down on the demographics of a target audience. CBC learned that employers — including at all levels of government — have targeted prospective employees based on age or gender. The text of the ads is non-discriminatory, but the targeting came into question. Facebook already announced that it would be disallowing this kind of job targeting in the United States. As of June 2019, the Canadian and Ontario human rights commissions had taken steps to see the same happen in Canada.

The action you decide to take when you come across a discriminating job posting depends your morals and ethics. Some might decide to do nothing or apply regardless, some might contact the posting organization letting them know (they may have been reckless or ignorant and will appreciate the feedback), and others will follow-up on their right to report it.

Before going a step further and engaging a lawyer, though, consider this. Molyneau Law wrote an informative post after the original CBC article that describes the Facebook ad situation, the implications, as well as some examples of past legal cases where discrimination in the hiring process was evident. While unethical job posters should be called out, the post warns that a full legal battle is rarely worth it. “Unfortunately for job applicants, it can be hard to prove discriminatory recruitment or hiring practices. You rarely know who else has applied or been interviewed for a position. And hiring is a pretty subjective practice at most employers. Even when job applicants are successful in proving discrimination, they often don’t see huge damage awards.”

This subject opens an interesting discussion for Canadian IT contractors and all job seekers. Where do you think the line should be drawn in discrimination of job postings? Is it alright if a company chooses to promote its public ad towards a specific demographic, as per the Facebook example? Do you come across discrimination in job postings and how do you deal with them? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

If (When?) Facebook Falls, What Will Replace It?

Facebook celebrated its 15-year anniversary earlier this year. On top of the company’s obvious success and growth, it has also received its share of bad press. Especially in recent years, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have been on the defence in security and privacy debates with some of the highest courts in the world. This leaves the world curious to find out what the future of Facebook will hold and, if it fades away, what will replace the social media phenomenon?

This video from The Economist takes a stab at answering those questions. It suggests that platforms like Mastaton (which is open source and community run) or Blockstack (a platform based on Blockchain) are both contenders for beating out the behemoth that is Facebook.

Facebook and LinkedIn Groups for Contractors (Part 1)

Part 1: Which Network Has Better Groups for Independent Contractors — LinkedIn or Facebook?

Why Facebook and LinkedIn Groups are Perfect for Independent Contractors in Technology (Part 1)Social media groups are rooms or forums within a social network where like-minded people gather to share discussions, pictures and connect with each other. They have the option to be private or public and are used for unlimited reasons, from planning a family party to school projects to business networking. Depending who you ask, groups on social networks are either a productive way to network or a waste of time filled with garbage. That’s because everybody’s had a different experience with groups. While some experiences are beyond your control, when you know what you want to get out of a group and how to do it, your chances of a positive experience are higher.

Most of the major social networks have some sort of Group functionality, with the most popular being Facebook,  LinkedIn and Google+. A Contractor Quick Poll conducted in March 2015 concluded that 75% of independent contractors log into either LinkedIn or Facebook more than any other network, so let’s look closer at those two options.

LinkedIn Groups

You already know that LinkedIn is the professional social network. Those who use it correctly understand that they need to maintain a professional image, so content and discussions are generally business-related (some people like to bring in politics and fluffy content, but we’ll save LinkedIn etiquette for a future post). In addition, you will find senior professionals who are willing to connect with you on this network more than any other, making it the prime choice for business networking. So, naturally, one would think that LinkedIn groups are the best option for independent contractors in the technology space. In the November 2015 Contractor Quick Poll, only 33% of independent contractors said they use LinkedIn for Groups. There are many valuable groups; however, there are unfortunately more groups that have been filled with SPAM and sales people trying to take advantage of their captive audience. In fact, this combined with the fact that engagement in LinkedIn groups is at an all-time low have many people across the internet wondering if LinkedIn Groups are dying a slow death.

Facebook Groups

The Facebook Groups functionality was popular about 10 years ago, during Facebook’s earlier days, and started to trickle away for similar reasons as LinkedIn — engagement wasn’t there. Recently, Facebook Groups have been making a “comeback” and communities are embracing the functionality all over again. Because of its mainstream popularity, professional networkers may not believe there is as much success. Facebook is used less by senior professionals than LinkedIn and those who do use it tend be more hesitant about connecting with anybody who is not a close friend or family. Therefore, finding a valuable networking group may not be as easy to do.

So which social network should you use for business networking? LinkedIn or Facebook? In typical cliché fashion of most comparison articles you read online, we’re going to recommend the grey area in the middle. Every situation is unique, with factors such as who you want to connect with and the types of topics you’d like to discuss. As such, review the pros and cons above, as well as review the groups on both networks before deciding. If anything, we strongly discourage joining multiple groups and hoping for the best — this will either result in lot of lost productivity or you will be so overwhelmed that you will ignore it all and be no further ahead.

The biggest question you may be asking yourself right now is “Why would I want to join a group at all?” We’ll answer that and provide some tips on how to use social media groups as a technology contractor in the second half of this series.