Smart Screening

Social media platforms serve all sorts of purposes, but in recent years a new function has become available for employers — social media background checks.

Social media background checks can be a valuable tool for weeding out potential employees who may have something objectionable on their social media platforms — something you may not have discovered about the candidate otherwise. Keep in mind, however, that there are right ways and wrong ways to go about this.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind, courtesy of Business News Daily, which wrote about the topic in April:

  • Wait until the end. Don’t check social media until you’re close to making a final hiring decision. Checking social media early in the screening process could put you at risk of a lawsuit from candidates claiming you chose not to hire them because, just as an example, you saw their age or race on Facebook.
  • Be consistent. The law prevents you from doing background checks in a discriminatory way. Check everyone or no one.
  • Look only at public pages. And never ask for a job candidate’s social media passwords.
  • Look for outliers. Don’t be nitpicky — look only for the things that stand out as being really good (such as doing volunteer work) or really bad (partying all night).
  • Consider using a background screening firm and provide strict guidelines as to what kind of information you want to know and what kind you don’t. “Although it may be cheaper to do social media screening yourself, hiring a service reduces the chances of legal repercussions,” Business News Daily wrote.

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