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Should HR use social media as part of job applicants’ background checks?

Posted on July 6th, 2011 Read time: 1 minutes

The advent of the internet has provided employers and job seekers with new ways to connect and network. However, the plethora of information available – especially via social media – has caused many human resources representatives to think twice about using the medium in their hiring processes.

While social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can allow an HR administration to get supplemental information on a job candidate not available on his or her resume, such sites can also create liability issues.

"Let's say you apply for a job and on your Facebook site you openly say you're gay," Peter LaSorsa, a Chicago attorney who specializes in employment law, tells The Kansas City Star. "The company goes on your Facebook site … and you end up not getting hired. Maybe you don't get hired for some other reason, but the company has now set themselves up for a charge of discrimination."

Furthermore, Max Drucker, CEO and president of social media background check agency Social Intelligence, explains that in many cases, companies that run checks are returning with information that's not relevant to how a candidate will perform the job.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has given the go ahead for this sort of researching, allowing Social Intelligence to save seven years worth of Facebook posts, pictures and statuses, ZDNet writes.

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