Survey Says: Why Doesn’t HR Believe in Social Media Employment Background Checks?
April 12, 2013
Last month, we released our official 2013 Employment Background Check Trends Survey report. The report includes findings from nearly 1,000 Human Resources professionals in various industries across the United States, who responded to our survey on background checks for employment at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.
One of the findings highlighted employers’ use of social media employment background checks to determine hiring eligibility (those statistics are listed below for your review).
Today, I want to highlight the follow up question to those who said that they did not employ the use of this background screening tool. We wanted to know why. Check out the response.
Nearly 70% of respondents cited privacy and legal concerns as the reason they never consult social networking websites as part of their background screening process. Lack of relevance and lack of time were each cited by 32% of respondents as their reasons for never consulting social websites.
Clearly, the value of social networking websites as a background screening tool is still up for debate. The inherent legal and privacy risks in uncovering “protected class” information (age, race, religious affiliation, etc.) or in making decisions based on unverifiable information make social sites less and less useful in the estimation of many employers.
Tips for Those That Conduct Social Media Background Checks
- Develop a social media policy
- Be transparent with your candidates and let them know what you are looking for
- If you use a third-party to conduct this search, you might follow proper Fair Credit Reporting Act procedures
- Assign the responsibility of making an adverse hiring decision to someone other than the person who has conducted the search
Download the entire 2013 Trends Survey Here
Earlier this month, we released our official 2013 Employment Background Screening Trends Survey report. The report includes findings from nearly 1,000 HR professionals in various industries across the United States, who responded to our survey on employee background checks at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.
Among this year’s key findings was whether employers are really consulting social media profiles as part of the pre-employment background screening process and if not, why?
Given the business world’s enthusiastic embrace of social media and social networking sites, it was surprising to see that 64% of respondents said they never review social networking websites as part of their background screening process. In fact, this year’s percentage was even higher than last year’s (52%). Only 7% of respondents this year said that they always consult social sites—down from 9% in last year’s survey.
These results once again show how divided employers continue to be when it comes to social media as a source of background information. The findings also again refute the common perception that all employers spend their time pouring over the online activities of workers and potential new hires.