REC business partner Giant Plc offer REC members advice on Social Media Screening

Filed under Business partner update

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Should you conduct social media screening? 

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, plus many more are now household names for everyone from Generation Z to Millennials, through to the silver surfers. Not long ago, we were starting to see the rise of social medial with the use of Myspace as a communication method that was relatively unknown. Today, social media is everywhere, along with this rise comes many new benefits and challenges for employers. One in particular is the use of social media in the hiring process. Officially, companies use it as an effective tool to identify and attract new talent, but there is also a significant number using it unofficially as a tool to aid their recruitment decision. 

Recent studies reveal that over 40% of employers use one or more social media platforms to obtain information about candidates during the recruitment process. 43% of businesses report that social media searches gave information that ultimately led them to decide not to recruit a candidate.

So, these statistics (and many more) show there is a clear benefit in using social media screening in the recruitment process. The information about a candidate can be gathered quickly and at a low cost.  

So, why unofficially? Why haven’t you got a policy in place for the use of social media in your staff screening process? 

The main reason is fear. The capacity to gather that much information about a candidate also comes with significant risk. Think about what you can see when looking through a candidate’s social media profile, you are a likely to see information that is legally-protected and normally excluded from the recruitment decision due to the possibility of discrimination. You could see information regarding religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, race or medical conditions. Although information is publicly available, no consent has been given and most smart applicants would have their privacy settings set so you are limited on your view.

So, should you stop using social media as a tool in the recruitment process from a screening perspective?  

Absolutely not. Social media is an incredible tool to be used in conjunction with your other screening activities. The use of sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can provide a valuable tool for identifying good candidates as well as bad. There are few places you will be able to get such a true and honest picture of the applicant you are considering bringing into your business.

Businesses without safeguards in place, where hiring managers are just Googling their candidates, are walking a narrow line. Social media screening protects brand integrity and measuring attitude.

Consequently, employers should take care when using social media in the applicant screening process so as not to generate evidence of discrimination if a candidate is not hired.  The information obtained from a candidate’s social media presence can be used to give much more sophisticated and useful information than just browsing through their holiday photos.

Businesses without any safeguards should consult with counsel to implement strategies to effectively screen applicants while simultaneously minimising the risk of litigation. That’s why it’s a wise move to look at how a specialist social media screening service can deliver much better results and ensure that you are protected from seeing protected or discriminatory information. In addition to all the other screening and background checking service, giant screening offers a specific product to deliver deep and useful information on an applicant’s social media activities, carried out with full consent and disclosure from the candidate.

If you want to focus more time on your core business and have excellent support on your background checking requirements, contact us today. For a free consultation to review your current processes, email or call 020 7167 4554.

Contact: Michael Tobin

Phone: 0207 167 4442

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