Businesses want the best. This includes their employees. While employee background checks, credit reports and a Google or LinkedIn search is nothing new, social media screening is. With networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram proving to reveal the out-of-the-office lives of coworkers and colleagues, business executives need to pay attention. More than a few times, tweets, blog posts and Facebook photos have aided in the termination employees. It’s becoming clear as time goes by the businesses who really want the best, need to pay attention to how candidates are using social media. When determining whether or not social media and pre-employment screening is a good fit, there are a few things to consider.
Timing is Everything
Don’t let a candidate’s social media use be your first impression of them. Conduct your social media searches after the initial interview. This will save you time as you’ve already weeded out a few applicants and will cut back on your background check expenses as fewer would need to be conducted. Whether your employees are in the office or at home, they represent your business. You want to make sure the candidates that appear outstanding are truly outstanding and a social media search can help.
- Do: Get authorization from candidates. Let them know whether or not you will be conducting a background check and be sure to provide them with the information about whether they passed or failed.
- Don’t: Forget to follow the procedures. If you step outside the boundaries when it comes to incorporating social media into your background check, you’re risking the stability of your business and legal team.
If there are protected, or anti-discriminatory, categories businesses need to pay attention to, such as religious affiliation or information about health conditions, you must consider the risks you are taking by accessing this information. You can conduct a public search, but make sure the process is the same for each and every candidate and across every department.
- Do: Separate the social media researcher from the decision-maker. Any information from those protected categories could be removed from the research report the decision-maker analyzes when screening an applicant.
- Don’t: Ask for private login information. You could lose a great candidate who feels this an invasion of privacy, become tied up in a lawsuit should requesting that type of information be illegal, or ABC
Social media accounts are personal and often private to those applying for your jobs. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a quick glance to see the kinds of information, photos and thoughts they are sharing. If someone seems like a great candidate, but consistently posts status updates that conflict with your business’s values, you can save your business time and money by taking these into consideration and determining whether or not this applicant was a good fit after all. Social media searches need to be a part of pre-employment screenings if businesses truly want the best. If you choose to use social media screening in your application process, make sure you are compliant with regulations in your area.