When recruiting, it’s important to follow up on a prospective employee with a background check. Criminal and even financial background checks have become standard while social media background checks are growing in popularity. There are, however, some dos and don’ts when researching a potential employee on social media platforms.
To avoid violating privacy laws, you cannot ‘friend’ or request log-in information from the candidate. Instead rely on public information. This is the only fair and valid way to vet a candidate. Also, know your state’s laws when it comes to background checks. You could be in a state where a background search on social media may be a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Be upfront about doing a social media background check like you would any background check. Hiding or not being upfront about a check can look like a violation of privacy. So, communicate which platforms will be checked and when this will occur.
Don’t perform this check too early. Like other background checks, it can only be completed after the initial interview. You will also want to select the specific platforms that will be searched for all potential candidates in addition to elements that could be grounds for removing a person from the candidate pool. The hiring process should be consistent from candidate to candidate.
When performing a social media background search on a potential employee, documenting the search with screenshots or notes of things found is very important since this could be grounds to remove a person from the pool of candidates.
If you can, using a reputable third-party company is a great idea. If a hiring manager performs the background check, there could be an element of bias. Using a third party helps remove bias from this part of the hiring process.