According to InfoMart, there is some question about whether or not employers should conduct social media background checks. The contention is that social media 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, so long as the employer is accessing public information 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. The information may help “round-out” a candidate profile, 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 at all what or who he or she claims to be!