Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Nov 18, 2011

Is it a good idea to use Craigslist for recruiting and hiring?


Q: We use Craigslist to post job openings and accept resumes. Are there any legal or practical risks involved with hiring people off Craigslist?

A: Many companies are taking advantage of the ability to post job openings for free on Craigslist, but there are some things to think about before using the website as your main source of recruiting and hiring. If people are submitting their resumes via Craigslist, you may be missing out on gathering vital information about the candidate that you would generally get through the application process. For example, job applications often ask about criminal convictions, relevant work experience, technical skills or training, and other information specific to the job being filled. Along the same lines, an individual responding to a Craigslist posting may give you more information than you were looking for. Without any quality control on the information coming in, people may send responses containing information about marital status, religion, disabilities, or a range of other information that you simply don’t want from a job candidate.  If you’re just getting emails or resumes from interested job seekers, you may be missing out on useful information while at the same time subjecting yourself to potential legal exposure.

Perhaps a better approach would be to post the job opening on Craigslist, but direct all applicants to your company website where they can fill out an online application. That way you’re gathering the same information from all candidates rather than the inconsistent information you may get through the resume solicitation process.


Finally, you should also ask yourself whether you’re getting the best candidates for a position by posting on Craigslist. Posting in a single location may make sense for an unskilled labor or temporary position, but is it the best place to locate your next electrician or accountant? If you’ve been posting online but coming up short on quality applicants, try reaching out to your local employment office to see if they have any ideas on where to post your job openings to optimize access to the right job seekers. This is an especially important step if you are a federal contractor because posting all open positions with the state is a requirement of your affirmative action plan, other than exempt executive jobs and jobs lasting three days or less.
Still have questions about whether posting on Craigslist is right for your company? Call your Vigilant staff representative for more discussion.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.