Employment Background Screening, Credentialing, FCRA, EEOC, Background Check, Criminal, Civil, Vetting, Global Sanctions, Global Screening

7 Potential Pitfalls of Using Social Media Before and During the Background Screening Process

Employers challenged by talent acquisition are always looking for new ways to help them find the best candidates for open positions with their company. As the use of social media continues to rise, and potential employees connect with their networks via sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, professional companies are increasingly turning to these sites to find new talent to hire.

CareerBuilder’s 2012 survey of 2,303 hiring managers show that 37 percent of companies turn to social media as a screening tool for potential job candidates. However, while online search engines and social networks have literally changed the world and the way we do business today, the laws regulating fairness in hiring practices have remained the same. Race, religion, marital status and political orientation, among other factors, cannot be used in the employment decision.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) attorney Edward Loughlin says, “You need to understand this area of the law is fluid, particularly social media, and you need to update your (hiring) policies quickly so you don’t run into problems down the road. A lot of this is preventative and helps employers mitigate their risk.”

While criminal background screening and credit checks have been a standard practice of human resource departments over the past several years, social media and the web have allowed people to extend their “identities” into a virtual space, increasing the risk of discrimination associated with using such methods for background checks.

“If you really want to deal with these issues,” says Loughlin, “you need to take the time and come up with a thoughtful policy that works for your company. It’s not a one ­size­ fits ­all approach.”

To avoid any of the risks associated with using social media as a background screening tool, hire a professional company like The Cedalius Group. There are professionals out there who can help you create a policy that works just for your company. Or they can execute background checks and screenings for you. The cost of hiring a professional is worth deflecting the unwanted consequences of misusing social networking sites to collect information on potential candidates.

Loughlin also states that, “Employers need to understand that social media’s greatest asset (the wealth of information it provides to both employers, current employees, and applicants) is also its greatest liability when it comes to employment law because you’re getting access to information that’s protected under the statutes the EEOC enforces.”

Employers should continually remain up-­to-date with legal and legislative developments surrounding the issue of social media background screenings, and remain educated on existing federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Stored Communications Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, that may protect workers against discrimination and privacy violations related to social media.

It is crucial that employers today understand how to leverage the ever­growing phenomenon of social media for identifying and recruiting future employees, while still remaining cautious of technology’s role in the background screening process. Professional companies like The Cedalius Group are here to help employers navigate the situation, and steer any organizations considering the utilization of social networks in the right direction.

For more information, visit The Cedalius Group online, or call us directly at (404) 963-9862.

Image Credit: mkhmarketing

The Cedalius Group offers insight into the background screening industry for educational purposes.  We always recommend you consult with your legal counsel to determine practices that best suit your business needs.

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