Do’s and Don’ts of Using Social Media to Screen New Hires

This book takes readers through a 360-degree perspective of social media in businesses.

Using social media to find new employees is a very important factor, but making a prospect fork over their Facebook credentials within a background check is another thing entirely.

Several half of employers use social media sites to recruit potential candidates, up from just over a third in 2008, according to a June poll from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Increasingly more nowadays, however, employers are taking the practice one step further by asking applicants for his or her Facebook logins within the screening process. As recently as 2 yrs ago, the town of Bozeman, Mont., required job applicants to provide account information for his or her social media-related accounts. In this situation, public outrage quickly curtailed that policy.

While it isn’t illegal to ask job applicants for usage of their password-protected accounts — your day should come, I suspect, whenever a jobseeker sues a prospective employer for violating the Stored Communications Act. That law limits the compelled disclosure of stored wire and electronic communications and transactional records held by Internet-related providers such as for example Facebook and Google.

If you are not already cringing in your chair or your company is taking into consideration the usage of social media when vetting job applicants, listed below are do’s and don’ts to understand:

  1.  Do have someone apart from the best decision-maker conduct the backdrop check, says Eric B. Myers, somebody in the Labor and Employment Group at Dilworth Paxson, LLP, and the writer of The Employer Handbook Blog. He highlights that if someone apart from the potential employer does the backdrop check, the company might be able to insulate itself against claims of discrimination. Myers also shows that if, for example, a Facebook photo shows the applicant smoking marijuana, the backdrop checker could mark “no” on a non-specific checklist that asks, “uses good judgment,” as doing this is less specific than jotting down “the applicant smokes dope,” which might in fact not grow to be true.
  2.  Do let applicants understand that you’re likely to be checking their social-media profiles — and it doesn’t hurt to say it in your advertisement for the work opening.
  3.  Do inform applicants if an authorized will be conducting the backdrop check. The Fair CREDIT FILE Act requires applicants to signoff, whether or not a password or username is required to access your profile, if an authorized conducts the check. Neglect to disclose to the applicant that someone apart from a worker at your own firm is conducting the backdrop check, and you open yourself up to lawsuit, Myers highlights.
  4.  Don’t compel employment applicant to break a website’s terms or conditions useful. Many social-media utilities and websites prohibit their users from sharing login information with third parties. Do that and you and the applicant could face a lawsuit from Facebook and become found by federal authorities to maintain violation of the Stored Communications Act.
  5.  Don’t depend on your company’s social-media policy in terms of job applicants because applicants aren’t included in the same policies as employees.
  6.  Don’t forget to check on with your company’s lawyer before instituting a fresh hiring practice linked to social media. This remains an extremely fluid area with new rules and interpretations occurring at an instant pace.

How perhaps you have encountered other do’s or don’ts when working with social media to screen new hires? Tell us in the c

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