Background Checks on Applicants Using Facebook

Nick Fishman

Those of you who have followed our blog over the past few years know that we have been a harsh critic of using social networking sites to conduct background checks on employees.  The biggest driver in our arguments against this practice has always been our concern is that doing so was a lawsuit waiting to happen.  Potential discrimination, negligent hiring, lack of transparency, no dispute process, etc.

And yes, we still have these concerns.  However, we can’t bury our heads in the sand anymore and say that employers just shouldn’t do it.  In fact, we’ve heard about cases where employers are held accountable for not checking a public site, when they could have avoided incident if they did.

So where does this leave us.  I guess somewhere in the middle.  If you look at the numbers, more and more employers are using social networking sites as part of their employment screening procedures.  As a CRA, I am still not sure I want anything to do with offering the service on behalf of my clients.  But, I do know for sure that I would like to help them avoid the potential risks inherent in this practice.

Earlier today, I published a guest article on EmployeeScreen University entitled “Screening Job Applicants with Facebook”, written by Molly DiBianca.  Molly is a labor and employment attorney who has been an outspoken advocate of this practice.  While I have not always agreed with her position, I have a great amount of respect for her as a trailblazer in this regard.  She offers solid advice that employers can use if they decide to engage in social networking employment background checks.

I encourage you to read the article in it’s entirety and draw your own conclusions about whether this is right for your organization.

P.S. In a roundabout way, this post also serves as an apology to Social Intelligence’s Max Drucker for not taking the time to listen to his arguments about this practice before firing off.  I agreed be more open-minded and Max agreed not to kick my ass:)

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