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Are Social Media Background Checks Acceptable?

social media

Are Social Media Background Checks Acceptable?

Posted by Payroll Data Processing in Blog Oct 08 2013

As social media has taken over our social lives it’s more common than not to have employers do social media background checks on you prior to being hired for a job. Often times people are posting their thoughts, opinions and even manage to over-share personal information online. Snooping may be one thing, just to get a glance at who is representing your company. But where do employers draw the line?

With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Youtube and many more available social media outlets available, it’s nearly inevitable that there will be some research done on you. However, some employers take it even further doing extensive Google searches or even opening up Google Alerts on potential candidates.

When this has been done are the employers still just snooping, or have they taken it too far? Has our privacy been broken? Are we biasing candidates and opening cases for discrimination claims?

Social background checks should be taken as far a personal reference should be taken, no further. Be respectful of others’ privacy and private lives.

When searching social media pages companies will be looking for any of the following:

• Does professionalism exist?
• To assess if they would be a good fit for the company
• To learn more about the candidates prior work and qualifications
• To assure there are no “bad warning signs”

And though it may all sound bad, it isn’t. Many employers have had good experiences with social media background checks. Employers get a good feel on the personal image and professionalism behind each candidate, and sometimes even screens out those that are clearly unfit for the position.

Any person who is looking for a job needs to be prepared for the chance that a possible future employer may be looking at your social media information. It is important to keep posts clean at all times, images less than embarrassing or illegal, and privacy settings where they need to be.

As for employers, they too should be careful when snooping for information on candidates. It is important that they stick to relevant information on candidates. This can be considered unethical and in some jurisdictions illegal also.

Employers should be cautious as they do social media background checks, and keep things legal. No discrimination is allowed, and no snooping further than relevant information is legal. Also be sure to warn candidates that they may be up for a social media background check so they can prepare their pages accordingly. Be prepared to fill vacancies with people who may live differently than you.