Blog Rumble: Use of Social Networking Sites for Employment Screening

Nick Fishman

We have been pretty vocal about our opposition to the use of Social Networking Sites for employment screening purposes and have not heard many counter arguments from respected voices.  Until now.

Employment attorney, Molly DiBianca has called me out in a very public way. (Okay, maybe she hasn’t called me out exactly, but isn’t sensationalism everything these days?)   I’ve read a few of her posts concerning her support of this practice, and while I respect her opinion, I’m still not swayed.  Nor are many FCRA experts that I have spoken with on the topic including top labor law firm Jackson Lewis who just released a survey on employers’ use of this practice.  Included in this study was a comment from attorney Paul Siegel which supports our position.

” . . . taking adverse employment action against employees on the basis of their protected recreational activities outside of the workplace is unlawful.”

Last evening, I had dinner with two prominent employment attorneys who have considerable FCRA experience and both agree that using social networking sites, such as My Space and Facebook, for screening purposes is a bad idea whether the FCRA applies or not.

While I disagree with Molly, I think it would be short sighted and small minded not to show you her opposing view.  Check it out.

What do you think?

Nick Fishman
Follow Me

Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
Follow Me
Tweet
Share
Email
Share
  • Shy Pahlevani

    I agree that it may be wrong to tap into a candidates recreational profile to screen candidates but that profile page, whether on mySpace or Facebook, is still a representation of who that person is.

    I think the solution may well be professional networking sites that take away all the clutter and allow candidates to create their “professional online image.” A new site that is doing this, uBoast.com, is even allowing employers to tap into the potential candidates personality.