More and more, employers are harvesting information about job candidates from social media. Recently, there was a big brouhaha over the idea that some employers were asking job candidates for their Facebook password as a gating issue in the hiring process. While we’re not sure how widespread that questionable practice might have been, it’s clear that employers are using social media to check out prospective employees, as well as to monitor current employees. As the saying goes, nature abhors a vacuum. In the absence of any training, policies or guidelines about what your managers can or can’t do in the hiring process, they are likely creating their own rules – some of which may put you on the wrong side of the law.
Mark Toth is the Chief Legal Officer of Manpower North America and he’s also a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) and a Certified Staffing Professional (CSP). While he imparts regular doses of wisdom and humor in The Employment Blawg, lately we’ve been taking note of his posts on how employers use social media, particularly in the hiring process. In his recent post everything employers need to know about social media, he noted that although 95% of employers are using LinkedIn, 58% are using Facebook, and 42% are using Twitter, among other social media, 73% of employers do absolutely no social media training. Yet left to their own devices without any guidance, your staff may be doing some questionable or deceptive things that could create a public relations nightmare or could put you on the wrong side of the law.
To help keep you out of the courtroom when it comes to the hiring process, Mark recently posted a handy Social Media Search-O-Rama Checklist which he authorized us to reprint here. It’s simple and concise!
If you’d like more guidance on formulating a social media policy or offering training to your staff, see Toth’s Social Media Starter Kit, a remarkably handy list of useful links to laws, sample policies, templates and more.

Hiring people is one of the riskiest things that an employer does. ESI EAP offers discounted background checks and pre-employment screening to member employers. For more information, call 800-535-4841.


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