|Social Media Background Checks||| Print ||
Hiring smarter means filtering candidates. Filters include applications, assessments, tests, and interviews. Many companies are using background checks too, which begs the question, whatís the best type of background check? Studies indicate that as many as 70% of all resumes are embellished. And, as many as 60% contain outright falsehoods (lies), and convenient omissions.
Employers may be tempted to check candidates on google and or facebook. Here is why this approach isnít recommended. Some information you may find could lead you to make a discriminatory decision. For example, a few years back CEDR removed the question, what date did you graduate High School from the application template we provide members. We removed that question because a California EEOC investigator said the answer to the question allows the employer to figure out how old the candidate is. Itís discrimination to use age as a filter.
A common HR adage is: be careful what you find out during the interview process. In other words, what you donít know, canít hurt you.
Using (or appearing to use) any of the following criteria for a hiring decision is considered discriminatory and unlawful:
What if the applicant gave you consent? There are laws and statutes that forbid employers from conducting background checks without consent. The general notice of release contained in an application does not constitute consent for background checks. The other issue to consider is the accuracy of internet information. There are over 400 million active users on facebook (at time of writing). How can you be sure you are researching the right candidate profile, or that the data is true?
Share this with anyone who is part of the hiring/firing process:
Discrimination laws about hiring and firing apply to all procedures during the hiring process, which includes googling and facebook.
Back ground checks must be legitimate, and we advise you find a professional service to conduct them for you. Conducting your own, and then using what you learn, could get you accused of wrong-doing.
When you use google or facebook, you often leave a trail. I could write an entire article on that alone.
It is critical that you and your hiring team learn what is OK to search for and what is not. The problem always exists that learning one thing could lead you to something else you shouldnít know.
Itís like the 60ís TV show, Hoganís Heroes. In the show, the commandant of a German prison camp (I know itís hard to get comedy from a prison camp) would say, ďWe have vays of making you talk.Ē Then a laugh track would fire off. Rather than risk your own legal security, ďThere are ways of making candidates talk.Ē Get the information you need rather than the information you donít.
2 Less Risky Filters for Hiring: behavioral interviewing and former employer release forms.
1. Behavioral interviewing: a technique for getting more truthful answers
2. Signed release of prior employers allowing them to speak freely about the applicant. Often, just the threat of the release will send the embellisher packing.
The guidance in this document is not legal advice and is based in opinion. The writer is an HR professional and not an attorney. If you think you need an attorney, get one!
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