Is Social Media Your 'Friend' When Hiring Interns?

In the days leading up to the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 21, we are running a special series of articles highlighting some of the sessions attendees will have the opportunity to attend. Today’s preview focuses on what companies need to know when using social media in vetting potential internship candidates.

Evaluating and vetting potential internship candidates is perhaps the most important step in the internship hiring process. The interview process provides some insight into whether a candidate will be a good cultural and skill-based fit with an organization. But to get a complete perspective of an intern’s makeup, employers are more frequently turning to an interview candidate’s social media profile to get a more complete picture of how that person might function within a company.

While there are many benefits to leveraging social media in this way, there are potential legal issues that could be opened as well. This is a topic James McWeeney II, associate attorney at Walter Haverfield, will explore at the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit during a plenary session titled, “Is Social Media Your ‘Friend’ When Hiring?”

We sat down with McWeeney recently to get a preview of what he plans to talk about during this session. Here’s what he had to say:

Social media benefits

People share a lot about themselves on social media and some of these posts are relevant to a hiring company that can gain insight into a candidate’s employment history, relationships with prior employers, the kind of work he or she has done in the past, and more.

These topics represent talking points that a candidate might not bring up during the interview process, but nonetheless represent valuable information when it comes time to making a final decision on the intern the company wants to bring onboard. However, there is some information floating out there on social media channels that could present legal concerns to a company if the hiring manager uses that information to make a hiring decision.

Social media dangers

The biggest thing that companies need to be able to do is recognize legally protected information on social media that hiring managers would otherwise not ask about. This includes such things as religion, genetic disposition, whether the candidate is pregnant, etc. There have been cases where people have challenged internship selection decisions claiming that they have discriminated against.

In addition, there could also be First Amendment concerns as it relates to an individual’s right to free speech in their social media posts. During his presentation, McWeeney will dive deeper into this topic as well as illuminating the difference between the information from social media companies can use during the selection process and that which is legally protected information.

You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about this topic as well as other internship program best practices at the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit. Click here to register today.

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  • Next up: Is Your Company Ready for Performance Review Season?
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  • Is Your Company Ready for Performance Review Season?

    It’s that time of year again: performance review season! Read on for a brief outline of how performance reviews should operate and scroll to the bottom of this article for a link to download a sample performance evaluation form.

    As we get settled into 2019, business owners are reevaluating all areas of their businesses. One of the most important areas they reevaluate is employee performance. That’s right, the time of year when a simple form determines the good performing employees from the bad. It’s a common, accurate procedure used to help determine promotions, raises, bonuses, demotions, or terminations. 

    While the specifics of the evaluation process vary from company to company, typically the employee and his or her manager work together on completing a performance evaluation form. The employee and manager then determine a date and time to review it and discuss the pros and cons of their overall annual performance. Some companies—especially the younger, smaller companies—might do reviews every six months or even quarterly in order to allow for changes to take place more immediate due to urgency. After all, why wait a year to fix something when you can do it now?

    No matter on which timetable the review is conducted, the process typically plays out the same way. Managers need to make sure they document all performance issues on each employee, so they have accurate accountability information to discuss, and employees just need to make sure they make every day on the job count. This includes their attitude, job performance, teamwork, and more.

    If you’ve never put a performance evaluation form together before (or if you just want to have something to check your existing form against) click here to download a sample performance evaluation form you can use during your review meetings.

    Mike Kaminski is VP of marketing and partner at Big-HR and has 13-plus years of experience in management, sales and marketing.

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  • Next up: Keeping Eyes Healthy During Winter
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  • Keeping Eyes Healthy During Winter


    ‘Tis the season’ for your eyes that is! Winter is here, and while you may be gearing up to take advantage of the family winter wonderland favorites or keeping cozy inside, don’t forget to take care of your eyes during the chilly season. Courtesy of our partners at VSP® Vision Care, here are five helpful tips to keep your eyes healthy during the winter. 

    This winter, keep your eyes clear and protected with these five helpful tips: 

    1. Wear Sunglasses with UV Protection
    Protecting your eyes by wearing sunglasses or goggles during the winter is especially important. Snow on the ground magnifies the UV rays from the sun, making the exposure even stronger. This reflection can cause inflammation of the cornea called keratitis that makes the eyes red, sore and sensitive to light.

    For ultimate protection, make sure you block sun rays by wearing sunglasses and goggles with 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for ones labeled either UV400 or 100% UV protection. 

    2. Break From Digital Devices 
    During winter weather, many people tend to stay indoors, spending more time glued to the screens. Spending long periods of time staring at a screen can eventually affect your vision—causing digital eye strain, headaches and tired, drier eyes. Give your eyes a break by blinking more to regain moisture and looking at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes. 

    3. Use a Warm Washcloth
    Using a warm, damp compress assists with tear secretion for common dry eyes. By simply applying a warm washcloth on each eye for two to three minutes per eye, you can help your eyes create the moisture they need. This tip also helps sooth scratchy, irritated and swollen eyes and can be one of the best ways to quickly treat the symptoms of dry eyes.

    4. Have a Humidifier
    Using a humidifier is one of the best things you can do for dry eyes during the winter months. Bringing a humidifier into your home helps combat the dry indoor air that floods your home when you turn up the thermostat, and it can do wonders for dry, itchy eyes. When the air is too dry, your sinuses don’t function properly and can cause congestion, sinusitis and irritated eyes. Be sure to run your humidifier during the night, when your eyes are most vulnerable to dry conditions.

    5. Get an Eye Exam
    Suffering from dry, irritated, swollen, itchy eyes due to chilly winter weather can be frustrating. If you continue to struggle with the symptoms, visit your VSP Premier Practice for an eye exam and professional consultation. 

    This winter make your vision health a priority. If you haven’t already, take advantage of your COSE member benefit and opt-in to VSP Vision Insurance. Contact your COSE sales representative or broker for more info.

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  • Next up: A New Take on Your Yearly Health Goals: Know Your Numbers
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  • A New Take on Your Yearly Health Goals: Know Your Numbers


    It’s common to prioritize health and fitness when setting wellness goals. While diet and exercise routines are essential, another great way to start is by knowing your biometric numbers. These are the important health scores that determine your overall health. Knowing these scores can help you identify your problem areas, set realistic goals and manage your health throughout the year. 

    To kick off the year right, take advantage of wellness screenings offered by your employer or schedule a physical with your primary care physician. Below are specific biometric tests you should be checking annually to make sure your health is the best it can be.

    1. Glucose test – This test is used to check the amount of glucose in your blood. Glucose is your body’s main source of energy, but if its levels are too high or low in your system, it could indicate various diseases such as type 1 or type 2 diabetes. By checking this number, you can know for sure if you are currently suffering or are at risk of developing one of these disorders and can seek proper treatment. 

    2. Cholesterol/Lipid panel – Did you know that your body is made up of different kinds of cholesterol, which together are called lipids? By getting a lipid panel, you can test your levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad-cholesterol”), high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good cholesterol”) and triglycerides. These various levels can indicate if you are at risk of developing blood clots resulting in heart disease or stroke, so it’s important to take this test. 

    3. Blood Pressure – Both high and low blood pressure can present serious health problems and can be especially detrimental to your heart. Therefore, a blood pressure reading is another essential test that can give insights into your overall wellbeing. This test measures the pressure in your arteries as your heart pumps and determines if it’s at a healthy level. 

    4. Body Mass Index (BMI) – Your BMI considers your height, age and weight and gives an approximation of overall body fat. This measurement helps categorize your body into underweight, normal, overweight and obese. This is an objective indicator of your health and eating habits and can help you gauge whether you need to change your lifestyle.

    By checking your numbers each yeah, you can better understand your risk for certain illnesses and the next steps you should take to improve. Talk to your doctor about getting your annual biometric screening. If you are a Medical Mutual member, find a provider now. 

    Sources: Be Well Solutions, Healthline, Mayo Clinic 

    The material provided is for your information only. It does not take the place of your doctor’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should make decisions about your care with your doctor. What is covered by your health insurance will be based on your specific benefit plan.

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  • Next up: Know Your Options: Why Medical Mutual and COSE’s New Health Benefit Option Might Make Sense For Your Business
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  • Know Your Options: Why Medical Mutual and COSE’s New Health Benefit Option Might Make Sense For Your Business

    As a business owner, it’s important to know you have options to help grow your business. That’s why Medical Mutual—a long-time supporter of small businesses across Northeast Ohio—has partnered with the Council of Smaller Enterprises to present a new health benefit option for small business that is centered on the belief that small businesses should be able to provide the same benefits as a large company.

    As a business owner, it’s important to know you have options to help grow your business. That’s why Medical Mutual—a long-time supporter of small businesses across Northeast Ohio—has partnered with the Council of Smaller Enterprises to present a new health benefit option for small business that is centered on the belief that small businesses should be able to provide the same benefits as a large company.

    The COSE Health and Wellness Trust is a multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) designed as a self-funded benefit option for businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Business owners with no employees are also eligible to apply. The COSE MEWA was developed to help small businesses and their employees manage the increasing costs of healthcare benefits.

    The MEWA At A Glance

    Characteristics of the COSE MEWA include:

    • 16 different plan options, including traditional co-pay plans and high-deductible health plans with varying deductibles and co-insurance.
    • By using such factors as medical history, gender, age and location to set rates, the costs of the COSE MEWA could be less expensive for your group than under similar plans offered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
    • The COSE MEWA is not subject to some of the ACA-mandated benefits and taxes and fees, so these savings are passed along to you.
    • The COSE MEWA maintains stop-loss coverage to provide plan sponsors with additional protection from large financial losses.

    And because Medical Mutual is administering the benefits for participating COSE employers, all benefits and options are tied to the same Customer Care team, local assistance and network of doctors and hospitals that members have accessed for years.

    Learn More at

    Interested in learning more about how the COSE MEWA works and why it may be the right plan for you and your business? Access all the information you need on our education page at where you can view videos, access frequently asked questions, view plans and additional information and help make an informed and easy decision for your business.

    For more information, contact the COSE Benefits Team at Medical Mutual at 440-878-5930. Or email the team at

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  • Next up: Labor & Employment Updates During the Coronavirus Pandemic
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  • Labor & Employment Updates During the Coronavirus Pandemic

    Watch COSE's recent webinar discussing updates on labor and employment topics during the coronavirus pandemic..

    Attorneys from Fisher Phillips recently provided updates on labor and employment topics during the coronavirus pandemic in a COSE webinar.

    Topics discussed included:

    • Stay in Place Order
    • Sick leave + FMLA
    • Benefits
    • Workers' Comp

    Watch a recording of the webinar below:


    Please note that the information in this webinar was current as of April 15, 2020. It is important to review applicable regulations and guidance issued after this date to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.



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