Using Social Media for Employee Hires

Should you use social media to scope out potential employee hires? It depends. Although the law does not absolutely prohibit you from checking out someone’s social media sites before you hire him or her, you are entering a minefield when you do this. The best way to evaluate candidates is to use a third party background screening company to evaluate a potential hire.

When you investigate an employment candidate yourself, and look at their social media sites, you will undoubtedly learn personal information about the candidate. Should you use that information, such as race, religion, sexual orientation or military status, in evaluating the candidate, you may run afoul of the law. The EEOC prohibits an employer from applying these factors to employment decisions.

If you look at a social media site, be sure you do it directly. Don’t pretend to be a “friend” when you are not. Read and understand the rules of the platform on which you search. Each platform, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, has its own Terms of Use. When you use the platform, you have agreed to abide by its rules. Ignorance is not a defense.

Finally, be careful and cautious. Using a third party company to conduct your background checks will help keep you on the right side of the law.