If you are carrying out social media background checks, how far should you go? Social media can be a great way of finding more out about a person and a valuable resource for employers. As well as reading candidates’ CVs and conducting interviews, employers are now seeking out information from social media accounts as part of their recruiting process. However, as social media is being used more often to conduct background checks on potential employers, people are growing concerned about if this is a fair and just process.
We’re looking at some of the pros and cons of social media background checks, posing the question, how far should you go?
Advantages of using social media to conduct background checks
Looking at a candidate’s social accounts can verify many of the points they have shared on their CV such as good communication skills and their work ethic.
See potential employees work
Depending on the job role that is being applied for, you may be able to see examples of a potential candidates work through social media. For example, photography and writing skills.
LinkedIn provides an in-depth professional history
Finding candidates LinkedIn profiles may give you a deeper understanding of their professional history.
Disadvantages of using social media to conduct background checks
When looking at multiple candidate’s social media accounts, you’re assessing each person based on different information for the same job, which is essentially unfair. You may also find inconsistent information that is not a true reflection of the candidate’s abilities.
Some people have public profiles and others have private profiles so cannot be fairly assessed. Employers should never try to bypass privacy settings in any way.
You may be looking at the wrong person
Unless a candidate provides you with their social media profiles to look at, how do you know you’re assessing the correct person?
If you do choose to look at your applicant’s social media profiles such as Facebook and Instagram, you need to ensure you know the legalities and ethical implications it can have. Firstly, it is illegal to access information that is not in the public domain and you shouldn’t send a friend request to gain access to someone’s profile. However, you are able to look at posts, images and videos someone has uploaded to public social medial profiles.
Discrimination during the hiring process is also illegal, so if you do find a reason not to hire a candidate, you need to make sure you document your legitimate, non-discriminatory reason. It is recommended you take screenshots and describe what you have found in detail in order to back up your decision making.
If you want to discuss using social media background checks in more detail and how best to recruit employees, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here at Oculus HR, we provide support and advice for a range of HR needs, ensuring your business is compliant and effective.