The Mixed Bag of Using Social Media Background Checks

On one of the human resources and recruiting sites there is an ongoing discussion about Social Media as a Background Check and how it may apply to the hiring process.    There are also concerns for Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance and other issues that are being addressed.

As the social media background check is one search as one writer puts it "where the genie is out of the bag." True.  If anything, more employers will be using the social media employment screening search to ascertain the viability of its job applicants.  As with anything new, there are the good points and the negatives.  I believe this aspect of employment screening must prove fair and constructive and not deter the more individualist but talented candidates from being considered for employment.

Here is what I wrote to address the issues of concern...

Social media monitoring is an evolving process. There is the danger of going by rote and developing a standard where the more eccentric but highly talented and very capable candidates are dismissed because of questionable postings. Surely, there are the obvious notable issues--whether the candidate's disparages his employers or managers, and whether he parties on Monday nights or showers only once a month whether needs it or not. But then by what criteria are qualified candidates dismissed because of eccentricity or personality characteristics that are neither real negatives or in any way interfere with job performance? While this is not necessarily a more blatant FCRA issue, there may be potential discrimination as well as the denial of employment to qualified and talented candidates. As I noted up front, social media monitoring is an evolving process, and this is one key issue that should be ironed out over time.

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