Recently, we wrote a blog specifically about requesting social media passwords for sites such as Facebook when interviewing applicants. But when it comes to hiring your next great employee, there are many more social media concerns to think about than asking for passwords.
It is often common practice for employers to “do their due diligence” and conduct their own background checks by scanning the web for any and all references for the applicants name. This can provide a wealth of information for the prospective employer and even, in their eyes, help them “dodge a bullet” should the applicant turn out not to be an angelic as they appear on paper. This at first glance may seem like the perfect solution. However, peeling back the layers and looking a little deeper at the issue reveals much more risk than what is seen on the surface. For example, let’s say you review the Facebook pages for two equally qualified candidates. They both volunteer their time for worthy organizations, have about the same amount of experience and are both available to start immediately. Candidate A has posted several comments about an upcoming fundraising banquet for the Arthritis Foundation and how much they appreciate the support they themselves have received in dealing with their condition. Candidate B mentions spending the weekend with their little sister from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and how much they enjoyed the outing. After careful review, Candidate B is selected for the open position and Candidate A is given a polite rejection. Soon after, you receive a letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigating a claim of discrimination and unfair hiring practices. This completely surprises you as the decision was very difficult to make and you remember the candidate as being nothing but competent and impressive. Is it really possible the EEOC is serious? If the applicant can directly prove you viewed their page, they can claim you used information within to make a decision regarding hiring them. You could find yourself defending a very difficult position and trying to prove that their comments of having Arthritis played no part in your final decision to extend an offer to the perceived “healthy employee” rather than the long-term inflicted applicant.
Sometimes something as simple as an innocent review of a Facebook page has the potential to cause many more issues. For this reason, we recommend not using social media as a part of your hiring practices until addition direction and legislation is put in to place. Need to create a social media policy along with other policies and procedures for your business? StaffScapes works with its clients to ensure compliance and protection for employment related issues. To learn more, please contact us today at 303-466-7864 or info@StaffScapes.com.