With the proliferation of social media, more and more employers are using it to screen job candidates for employment. Before delving into a social media search, though, it’s important to know there are numerous pitfalls to be aware of before relying on any information collected through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.
Companies and HR professionals should be careful when they check a candidate’s social media history. A social media history should only be used as a piece of the overall background check performed on job candidates. Background checks should also include a criminal history report and academic and employment verifications.
To ensure no mistakes are made, consider hiring a third-party employment screening business to run background checks on job candidates. Contact Barada Associates today to learn more about our employment screening services.
Using Social Media to Screen Candidates
There is some question about whether or not employers should conduct social media background checks. The contention is that social media screening can be a valuable resource for employers regarding prospective employees and whether or not they’ll be the right fit for the employer. On the other hand, more job seekers are becoming concerned about their privacy rights.
Privacy issues shouldn’t be a concern as long as the employer is accessing public information that anyone can see. The one thing that a social media search cannot do, however, is provide a check on the accuracy or truthfulness of the information. For all the employer knows, clever job seekers could easily have embellished information they post or, for that matter, lied about some or all of what they’ve posted. So, just like any other background or reference check, the information found via social media needs to be verified for truthfulness.
While it’s possible to obtain useful, but unverified, information about a candidate for employment, care still has to be used to ensure that the information is true. Despite contentions to the contrary, a social media search probably isn’t a very reliable or thorough way to gather information on a prospective employment candidate. It should only be used as part of a larger employment screening process.
Just to illustrate the scope of the problem, there are over 46,000 people named John Smith in this country. There are also over 1,000 people in the U.S. named James Bond. While these may seem like obscure examples, they really are just the tip of the iceberg of potential problems with searching social media profiles.
The information found during these searches may help a hiring manager “round-out” a candidate profile during the hiring process, but the usual background and reference checking will undoubtedly still be necessary. Failing to follow the more traditional steps in the pre-employment process may cause the employer to end up with someone who not only isn’t right for the job, but isn’t who they claimed to be..
Legal Ramifications of Social Media Searches
There are other unresolved issues about using social media searches for job applicants. For example, whether or not using social media to help make a hiring decision amounts to an invasion of the applicant’s privacy has yet to be definitively established. Another major issue is whether or not using social media gives an unsuccessful candidate a basis for a claim that the denial of employment was discriminatory.
Until these and other issues are definitively resolved, it’s probably very sound advice to urge employers to be very careful before delving into the world of social media searches to collect information about a candidate for employment. At the very least, employers should check with their lawyers before doing any information gathering via any social media for employment purposes. While some state laws prohibit adverse action based on off-duty conduct, except under narrow circumstances, there is reason for employers to have legitimate concerns poking around at profiles.
Trust Barada for Social Media Searches
While many employers use social media as part of an overall background check, it’s best to leave background screening, including social media searches, to the professionals such as Barada Associates. The associates at Barada can protect hiring managers and their company from any legal risks.
As part of our Key Hire Research (KHR), Barada searches all relevant social media platforms and tracks information on a job candidate. A survey from CareerBuilder found that 51% of employers who researched a candidate’s social media footprint and online presence found something that caused them not to hire the candidate. If there are any red flags online, the associates at Barada will find them and report them back to the employer.
Barada is the Leader in Employment Background Checks
Barada Associates is the nationwide leader in employee background checks. Founded in 1979 as one of the nation’s first employment screening businesses, our company has developed a reputation over the years as the premier provider of background checks. Whether it’s employment verifications, reference reports or background checks, you can trust Barada to help your company make smarter, more informed hiring decisions. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer or to request a meeting.