The Complications of Social Media Background Checks

The Complications of Social Media Background Checks

Social media has become such a ubiquitous blessing and curse in our lives. It keeps us in touch with faraway family and friends and helps us get to know our favorite celebs. But it also gives us a closer look into all of their beliefs—for better and for worse.

 

It’s a similar double-edged sword for employer/employee relationships.

 

Not every uncomfortable post on social media can be used to disqualify a job candidate’s hiring, though. Any employer that includes social media background checks in its vetting process needs to commit to an ethical standard and an investment of time.

 

Consistency is key. When taking social media into consideration for hiring, an employer must be consistent in using its review. There must be guidelines to include social media reviews of all candidates being considered for positions of a certain level, for a certain department, or other commonalities.

 

Public accounts only. Employers may never ask for passwords or access to social media content that is not already available for public consumption.

 

Evaluate only job-related content. When reviewing a candidate’s social media presence, employers may only consider content that would relate to the potential hire’s job. While nearly anything posted on LinkedIn may be appropriate for evaluation, a pet-related meme shared on Facebook a few years ago may not be.  The largest use of social media searches centers on hostility, harassment, illegal activity, the safety of employees, and brand name protection.

 

Considering social media as part of a candidate’s background check can be time-consuming and confusing for hiring managers. Plus, it’s impossible for most individuals to unsee things they shouldn’t take into consideration for hiring but might not be able to stop themselves from doing so putting your organization at significant risk.  Denial of an applicant using social media can be a slippery slope and risks violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

 

An affordable solution for saving time and avoiding legal risks may be to hire an experienced background check provider. Ask ClearStar how our experience, technology, and candidate care can help your team vet potential employees effectively and efficiently.

 

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