Social Media as a Screening Tool
A recent article by Small Business Trends caught my eye because it seemed to be pointing out a rise in the percentage of employers who search Social Media platforms as part of the screening process when hiring. Previous surveys had the percentage in the 70’s and this article now has it at 90% of employers considering social media content during the hiring process.
Perhaps the most surprising, 79% of HR professionals state they have decided not to hire a candidate due to inappropriate content on social media accounts. What people like, share or post can say a lot about them and searching publicly available social media as part of the screening process is perfectly legal (be careful to stay within FCRA requirements). Topics of concern to employers include, hate speech, images of illegal drug use or other illegal activities, negative comments, threats or confidential information about previous employers, and sexually explicit materials. What the article fails to point out is the danger employers face when doing social media searches on their own. This can open them up to charges of discrimination when a job applicant claims an employer saw and used information on their Facebook page or Twitter account about their age, sexual orientation, a planned pregnancy, religious beliefs, etc. A FCRA compliant background screening company, can filter the search for just the type of information the employer is concerned about and redact anything that an employer shouldn’t consider in the hiring decision-making process.