Over the past decade, social media usage has grown rapidly, creating spaces where people can share personal and professional news with friends, family and co-workers. Many employers have come to understand that a prospective job candidate’s social media accounts are rich beds of information that they won’t necessarily find on a job application or during an interview.
The temptation is strong for many hiring managers to start using social media in their recruiting strategies, since it serves as a fast-track to vital information. That said, is it the right path to uncover information about candidates to back or refute information they have provided to you directly?
If you’re interested in recruiting via social media, keep in mind that there are some complications in taking this shortcut for conducting a background check. Let’s take some time to learn about some of the risks and best practices.
Using Social Media for Recruitment: Inherent Risks
While the idea of using a social media platform may be attractive to hiring teams as a way to supplement an official and trusted background check, the risks sometimes outweigh the rewards.
Once you start digging your way down the rabbit hole of someone’s life on social media, you’ll find a great deal more than you need to know. You are likely to stumble on information that could later complicate your decision-making process, such as information regarding protected class status, including:
- Sexual orientation
- Health status or family health status
This type of information could leave your business open to discriminatory accusations if someone suspects you used the information you discovered to decide against hiring him or her. Regardless of why you did or did not hire someone, a social media search can show that you had access to such characteristics during your decision-making process.
Not All Applicants Have Social Media Accounts
Even though 246 million Americans had social media accounts as of 2019, approximately 86 million do not. That leaves many talented candidates out of the running if you only use social media for vetting.
It’s Difficult to Confirm Social Media Account Information
There is little you can do to confirm that what you found on a prospective candidate’s social media page is accurate. Much information you’ll find on social media pages is subject to interpretation, which might cause you to hire or dismiss a candidate based on unreliable information.
Social Media Best Practices for Recruiting
It’s wise to approach social media carefully, relying on social media recruiting best practices that include:
- Request and obtain written acknowledgments before reviewing a candidate’s social media accounts.
- Don’t use any information deemed discriminatory in your decision-making process, such as if the candidate has a disability.
- Document each site you visit and everything you discover that you will use in your decision-making process, omitting personal information and including only professionally related data such as education, work history and other credentials.
- Develop and implement a strict policy regarding social media recruiting practices.
- Engage a reputable background screening firm such as Global Verification Network to back your findings.
Before Making Your Decision, Get a Second Opinion
As tempting as it might be to look at job candidates’ social media profiles, it’s not always the safest route — especially done without confirmation from a professional background screening firm. At Global Verification Network, we can help ensure social media information accuracy and, even better, we can offer some additional results you won’t find elsewhere.
Contact us to learn how we can help you make the best hiring decisions.