Using Social Media in Recruitment Process: How Far is Too Far?

Most companies do a search on their candidates on Google, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn before they decide whether or not they would hire them. However, where is the line to draw between the usual candidate screening and the violation of candidates’ privacy?

social media privacy

Here are some key things you need to remember when using social media in hiring process:

1.    Background checking is good – within a certain limit

Anything that is posted publicly by your candidates is a fair game. Checking their LinkedIn profiles, for example, is good, recommended even. Everyone wants to know if the previous jobs listed in their resume are real. Furthermore, if you’re an online company, you might want to check your candidates’ Twitter profiles and see if they are using these profiles for professional purposes and not just for personal use.

2.    Don’t let personal prejudices take part

Say that you are about to ask a candidate to come in for an interview, but before making a call, you decide to check their Facebook profile first. You find out that the person has a different religion/race than yours and decide not to offer him/her the interview.

While it is against the law to discriminate candidates over physical disability, culture or religion, some people unconsciously still do it. If you are going to check their social media profiles, make sure that you can be objective and unprejudiced enough that none of these factors will influence your decision.

3.    Never ask for private information

Your candidate must have a good reason why their Facebook profile is on private. Demanding their password or hacking their account to open these profiles is a violation. Not only that it is against their privacy right, but it is also legally forbidden for employers to exploit these types of personal information.

So, how far is too far when it comes to checking candidates’ social media footprints? While it is not wrong to do a background check, there is a limit between doing a healthy background check and violating their rights. As a rule of thumb, if you don’t want those things to be done to you then don’t do these to others.

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