Most people nowadays have a social media presence, and it is becoming increasingly common for employers to review a prospective candidate’s social media footprint that is publicly available, as part of the recruitment process. A person’s social media can reveal a lot about them, from their attitudes and behaviours, personal beliefs to the credibility of their experience and qualifications.
How to Conduct a Pre-Employment Social Media Screening
Social media checks can be completed via an external professional or conducted in-house by a member of management, although opting to conduct it in-house poses potential risks.
The candidate’s public online presence will be checked for activity such as extreme views, hate and discriminatory behaviour, addiction, or substance abuse as well as other concerning content that may bring the Company into disrepute if the candidate was hired. However, it is important to note that social media screenings can also work in a candidates favour as positive traits may be identified, such as involvement in charity work or endorsements from previous employers or colleagues. An external professional conducting the check will use screening and behaviour evaluation tools to produce a report that is a fair and objective assessment of the candidate’s social media profile.
The Risks to Conducting a Screening In-house
There may be some employers who choose to conduct a social media check in-house, and whilst this may be cost-effective, it poses some risks. The employer needs to be confident that the person who is completing the screening will remain completely objective and not form views that may be deemed discriminatory. Your candidate should be informed that a social media check is being done and has the right to respond to any information found online. As many people have the same name online the employer should also ensure that the profile they are screening matches that of the candidate.
Do’s and Don’ts on Conducting a Social Media Screening
- Remain fair and objective
- Be clear in your communications – Ensure you have a water-tight social media policy that outlines the Company’s expectations in regard to employee’s online presence
- Be consistent – Ensure when conducting checks, you follow the same screening process for each candidate as documented in a Recruitment Policy.
- Add the candidate as a ‘friend’ on the social media platform
- Request the candidates personal login information – this is an invasion of privacy and only publicly available information should be checked
If you require any further assistance regarding pre-employment checks, please contact us on 01527 909436.