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Understanding Social Media Background Screening

Social media seems to have taken over every aspect of our lives. Our companies have Facebook pages, we scroll endlessly through Instagram, and now Facebook Live and Instagram Stories want us to record our days. With social media as such a strong influence around us, it’s been a natural progression for employers and HR managers to consider expanding pre-employment screening to social media.

This isn’t a practice to rush into, however. While some employers are embracing social media, there is understandable resistance from many other employers. There are many risks associated with evaluating job candidates based on what you might find on their social media profiles, including candidate privacy and federal regulations.

If your business is moving forward with social media screening, consult an employment screening specialist and keep these best practices in mind:

Know the risks.
Resumes are black and white—literally. It’s a best practice not to include a photo on a resume for a reason. Unlike resumes, social media profiles can indicate if a person is part of a protected class (age, race, gender, disability, and religion are a few). If a hiring manager sees this information, the business may be at risk for a claim by the candidate of hiring discrimination if an interview or offer is not extended.

Update your employment screening policy.
A written employment screening policy that has been reviewed by an employment law attorney will set you on the right path. The policy can help you educate managers and HR on the inherent risks of social media background screening, as well as simply providing an official procedure for them to follow. The policy can protect your company from legal risks and give hiring managers information they can access from your employment screening partner.

Monitor the legal landscape.
As social-media background checks become more common, watch for legal developments around the practice. There are existing federal laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Stored Communications Act, that may protect workers against discrimination resulting from social media screenings.

KRESS Employment Screening is a background-check provider and leader in employment screening policies. For more information, contact us today.

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