Employers today use social media to screen candidates. However, there are several pros and cons attached to using social media and search engines as a hiring tool. Besides, a handful of employers also use social media for purposes other than screening candidates. According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 77 percent of employers are using such sites for alluring passive candidates. Only 20 percent of employers use social sites or search engines for candidate screening. Social media is a powerful tool for employers who want to hire candidates with the right kind of attitude and an effective workforce. Lately, candidate snooping has come under a lot of fire. Companies should be careful and must make sure that their IT policy is both flexible and up to date to reflect the companies’ views on social media. Below are three essential legal concerns that one must be aware of: Privacy: Employees and candidates expect and are entitled to a considerable level of privacy. Due to this, State and Federal laws and additionally the contractual terms of a few social media services may restrict your reach into an applicant’s profile. Discrimination: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and State Laws restrict employers from making hiring decisions based on protected class information (information that could be seen unintentionally in an applicant’s profile. Accuracy: The Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) necessitates maximum possible accuracy when it comes to background checks. You shouldn’t be using it, unless you could prove something. There are also Don’ts that will help you determine whether or not you should be using social media in the middle of your hiring process. Don’t Ask for Passwords: It is illegal to request passwords for social media profiles in six states in addition to the 21 states that are considering a similar legislation. Requesting for passwords may also put your company’s reputation at stake and make it much harder for you to find top talent. Don’t Believe Everything You See Online: Verification of someone’s online profile and data is an extremely difficult step. Remember, we live in a world where user-generated content, photo-altering softwares and open networks sell like hot cakes. Don’t Use Social Media Erratically: An exhaustive search on one single job applicant is nothing but an investigation. If your internal search practices are inspected, you could land yourself in a lot of legal trouble.
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