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In fact, HireRight’s 2013 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report reveals that 61 percent of employers use, or plan to use, social media to help them recruit candidates. While social media has quickly gained popularity as an established part of the overall recruitment effort, employers are still hesitant about its role in the employment screening process. A little more than a fifth (21 percent) of respondents to HireRight’s survey indicated that they use, or plan to use, social media as part of the background check – a slight drop from the previous year’s rate of 24 percent.
Employers’ reluctance to use social media as part of the background screening process may be due to a number of factors, including a deficit of established legal guidance, concerns over candidate privacy, and uncertainty regarding best practices around the issue. Employers may consider limiting hiring decision maker’s use of social media, and educating all human resources personnel about the inherent risks of social media background screening. Without a social media screening policy in place, an organization may be exposed to liability risks, such as discrimination lawsuits. As the practice of social media background screening becomes more common, stay tuned to legal and legislative developments around the issue.
Employers today are at a unique crossroads of leveraging the ever-growing phenomenon of social media for identifying and recruiting future employees, while still remaining leery of the technology’s role in the background screening process.
As I mentioned in the first post in this series, social media, in my opinion, is the most misunderstood and popular tool for candidate recruitment used by recruiters to date.
It’s easy when we look at social media and listening for employers to take the easy path. Below, is our Hire-archy of Social Recruiting that outlines the basic needs when and steps when it comes to social media for recruitment.
Social listening is a very passive approach to social media where conversations and monitored and employers are aware but maybe are unsure how to handle these conversations are happening. As the use of social networks, mobile and the Internet continues to grow in importance in our everyday lives, I believe that sourcing for candidates is here to stay. In our White Paper, "10 Ways to Optimize Healthcare Recruiting and Onboarding Processes," a panel of 8 healthcare experts discuss the top ten best practices for optimizing your hiring processes to help you meet your goals.
I am certain everyone has read or heard somewhere about how significantly the Internet and social media have altered the way we interact with one another.

With the abundance of information lurking around in the social stratosphere, it is now easier than ever to collect supplementary information on job candidates. Not only can these social networking sites help disclose risks that can result in costly ramifications, social media monitoring can potentially help save your facility time and improve employee retention rates.
A light touch on some of the Legal ramifications of Social Media Recruiting and ways an Employer can mitigate some of said Risk. In its 2013 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report, HireRight reports that finding, hiring and retaining talent remains employers’ top business challenge – a continued trend over the last several years. As use of social media broadens, and potential employees engage with their networks via sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, organizations are increasingly turning to these sites to locate talent. Social media background screening risks are compounded because most hiring managers have easy access to social media networks and most web browsers capture and store viewing history. Consult with your legal counsel to assess and mitigate your organization’s social media background screening risk. Failing to address social media background screening also means that hiring managers may be using subjective information found online to inappropriately limit their hiring options.
There are several existing federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Stored Communications Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, that may protect workers against discrimination and privacy violations related to social media.
For those organizations that are currently using, or are just considering using, social media as part of the background check process, there are some best practices that may help them navigate this situation. We see social as an employment screening tool, a form of candidate knockout question as part of the employment process. While social sourcing is a more advanced strategy when it comes to social media, social screening falls within the most foundation stage of social recruiting, Social Listening.
While employers are waiting or taking time to develop a formal policy, strategy or approach, it’s right to assume that social screening is likely already happening. Outside council doesn’t often take the time to really understand how the law impacts HR or a hiring manager. Paint a picture, speak frequently, and over communicate the perils, pitfalls and benefits of using social media in the hiring and employment process.

Social media gained prevalence in 2004 when Mark Zuckerberg prescribed us the drug we today call Facebook. Moreover, 69% of recruiters have rejected candidates based on the content found on their social networking profiles. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would be expected to crack down on recruiters for not getting authorization and providing disclosure for performing social media screening. As mentioned earlier, 77% of recruiters have taken advantage of this growing opportunity to dive into the existing pool of publicly available data floating in social space.
Of those employers who do use social media during background screening, 76 percent do not have any defined policy regarding this practice.
Make them understand the difference between Internet sourcing and social media background checks as part of the hiring and employment process.
True sourcers are invaluable to the hiring and recruitment process while also separating the use of social media from the recruiter or hiring manager so that they are not influenced by the candidate’s online profile information even unconsciously. There also needs to be a clear delineation between the person doing the research and the person making the hiring decision. This may not be something for everyone; but if it is something you would like to incorporate into your current process, consider both the benefits and risks of social media screening before adopting this practice. It’s the hiring managers and those participating in the interview that present the greater employment law and discrimination risk for your employer. When it comes to using social media as part of the hiring process, it depends on your employer’s overall hiring and recruitment strategy.

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