According to a recent Pew Research study, as of September 2013, 73% of online adults use social media.
Not surprisingly, many human resources professionals are actively seeking new ways to reach potential job candidates through this expanding channel and incorporate it into their overall hiring practices.
However, while social media can present many exciting new opportunities to reach and engage job candidates, it can also expose employers to risk if used for background screening candidates.
According to the HireRight 2014 Annual Employment Screening Benchmarking Report, human resources professionals are incorporating social media into their hiring processes in some of the following ways:
- Forty one percent of employers utilize social media for recruiting. Twenty percent of respondents use social media for background screening purposes.
- LinkedIn and Facebook are preferred over Google+ and Twitter by employers currently using social media for background screening.
While social media garners substantial attention for its potential, traditional recruiting methods still reign supreme. Referrals and online job boards—as opposed to recruiting via social media—are still preferred by over 75% of employers.
Tip for getting started with recruiting via social media:
Although setting up a social media account does not require a significant upfront investment (since it can be accomplished with a few simple clicks of a button), social media recruiting demands significant resources due to the need of a steady stream of content.
You should be willing to allocate the time and resources needed so that your social media presence is current, healthy and provides valuable information to the company’s online communities.
Potential Risks of Using Social Media for Background Screening Purposes
Using information uncovered on social media to eliminate job candidates can increase an employer’s exposure to discrimination or other claims.
For example, if an applicant’s social media profile displays protected class information (like religion, race, age, or disability), and if an organization that, after having viewed such information, decides not to hire that individual—even for legitimate reasons—that organization could be vulnerable to claims of discrimination.
Since the laws and practices relating to social media are always evolving, seeking counsel from an attorney familiar with employment and privacy issues can help employers determine the best course of action when considering how to use social media for background screening purposes.
Free Report: HireRight 2014 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report
Discover tips for developing strategic objectives, related policies, and practical management of employment screening programs by downloading:
HireRight Employment Screening Benchmarking Report