Lifestyle | Managing Money

5 Reasons Why Social Media Background Searches Are Essential for Hiring

May 25, 2023

Social media background searches offer insights into candidates’ character that standard background checks can’t provide. For example, someone might have a clean criminal record, but their social media profiles might reveal threatening language directed at co-workers.

However, it’s essential to know that social media background searches must be conducted legally. Using an experienced third-party screening company will ensure that your inquiries are compliant with all EEOC guidelines.

It’s the Right Thing to Do

For billions of individuals, social media provides a platform for self-expression and creating relationships. As such, it’s no surprise that employers have begun using these platforms for hiring and screening purposes.

Unlike an interview, where a candidate will only put their best foot forward, social media profiles offer a more complete picture of someone. That’s why conducting a social media background check can be helpful before making a hiring decision.

However, social media background searches must be done carefully. It’s critical to remember that social media sites are private spaces and that searching for candidates may breach their privacy. Furthermore, many people have a different persona on their accounts than at work.

Furthermore, an investigation of an applicant’s social media accounts may turn up information shielded from disclosure under federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination based on racial, religious, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or political affiliation. It can compromise a hiring manager’s ability to make an unbiased decision and open the door to discrimination lawsuits.

It’s the Right Thing to Avoid

Many employers are turning to social media background checks for employment vetting. However, this type of vetting has some serious drawbacks that you should consider before adding it to your hiring process.

Some employers conducting social media searches say that they’ve rescinded job offers because of the content on the candidates’ profiles. For instance, some candidates have posted racy photos, badmouthed former bosses, or discussed their drug and alcohol use online.

Hiring the wrong person could have significant consequences for your business, including legal liability and customer dissatisfaction. However, if you employ social media background checks when recruiting, use expert services and take precautions to ensure the procedure is carried out legally. Otherwise, your company may be in a legal spat with employees and applicants. That’s why it’s essential to have a third party perform the search and report only information relevant to hiring decisions. That way, you won’t be at risk for a discrimination lawsuit. Consider the following advice to help you with this.

It’s the ethical thing to do for your business

By doing social media background checks, employers can prevent hiring anyone with a criminal past or a poor reputation. It is significant for businesses with a large customer base that may be turned off by someone arrested or convicted of a crime.

However, a few things must be remembered before conducting a social media background check for employment. First, it’s best to have someone not involved in the hiring process search. This way, information that could create bias is kept out of the hands of the hiring manager and doesn’t unfairly disqualify a candidate.

Also, using social media background checks only as a last step in the hiring process is a good idea. If you search a candidate’s social media before or during the interview, the candidate might feel ambushed and that it was discrimination. It is essential to warn candidates that their social media accounts will be viewed. It will encourage them to clean up their online presence before applying for a job.

Doing what’s suitable for your candidates is essential

Social media searches are a hot trend in hiring, but business owners need to remember that this background check is something you can do with others. It is a highly regulated process and should be done by a professional.

Social media searches can help you avoid issues like discrimination when performed correctly. Discrimination claims may be raised if a prospective employer discovers information about a job candidate that violates their Title VII rights under the Civil Rights Act. The ability to execute the job may be impacted by a candidate’s sexual orientation, religion, or political views, and social media searches can reveal such private information.

Social media screening is a time-consuming and risky process. In today’s cutthroat job market, it’s a crucial step for companies trying to discover the top people. If you need help navigating this area of the hiring process, contact a legal advisor to assist you. They can draft an authorization release form that allows your company to conduct social media searches in a legally compliant manner.

The moral thing to do for your employees 

Many hiring managers are tempted to Google applicants’ social media profiles before hiring them. However, this can be risky and lead to bias. It’s best to hire a third-party expert service for this task. It allows the employer to remain unbiased and prevents legal issues from arising.

Using an outside provider is essential so that a company does not violate Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rules or privacy laws. Searching a candidate’s social media can reveal information that can impact the hiring decision, such as race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. It can open a company up to discrimination lawsuits.

A social media background check can help a company determine whether an applicant fits their business, mitigate risks, and reduce employee complaints and disciplinary actions. However, companies must understand these checks’ legal and ethical issues before implementing them into their hiring processes. A professional third-party provider can make these searches easy and efficient, eliminating legal risks.

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