Using Social Media In Employment Hiring

Using Social Media In Employment Hiring

Social media plays a big part in our society. People share lots of personal information online that everyone can see, some good and some bad, but can an employer use information found online?

social media for hiring

Using Social Media for Employment Screening

That question doesn’t have an easy answer, often you will find information regarding a person’s religion, sexual orientation, ethnic, and birth information that could never be included on a compliant job application. Photographs of the individual may also reveal information about disabilities that would never be permitted under the ADA and other federal and state employment laws. In addition, there is often no way for an applicant to even defend themselves regarding such information and no mechanism exists to correct information that is wrong. 

Using social networking sites can sometimes help find good candidates that are just what the recruiter is looking for, but the use of these sites for employment screening may not be a practice you would want to explain or defend in a courtroom setting. Most of these issues have not been addressed by the courts yet. If the use of these sites is a part of your recruiting and hiring process, perhaps after consulting with your HR consultant or legal counsel, at the very least your employment screening release should specifically refer to the possible use of these sites.

Social Media can Hurt and Help an Applicant

According to a survey by, 34 percent of hiring managers who admit that they have screened job candidates via social networking profiles say that they found content that caused them to dismiss a candidate from consideration. By contrast, 24 percent of hiring managers who researched job candidates via social networking sites said they found content that helped to solidify their decision to hire the candidate.

Information found that hurt applicants:

Drinking and drugs(41%), provocative or inappropriate photographs (40%), bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee ( 28%)

Information found that helped applicants:

Background supported their qualifications for the job (48%),  great communication skills (43%), conveyed a professional image (36%)

States with Restrictions on Use of Social Media

Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

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