Using Social Media for Employment Background Checks
Is it legal to use Facebook or other forms of social media to conduct
background checks on potential new hires? The answer is yes, but if you
use inappropriate information, you could be violating the law.
According to CareerBuilder.com, employers report the following
beneﬁts outweigh the legal risks:
found a link
We recommend you implement the following as a background check
policy to ensure legal compliance:
Deﬁne the background check procedure and
require written acknowledgement by staﬀ
Identify ﬁve-ten conducts that would cause
alarm if seen on a candidate’s proﬁle
Identify ﬁve positive attributes such as blog is
well written and related to professional
interests, demonstrates creativity or
illustrates good use of professional skills and
Identify an independent researcher someone separate from the recruitment
process - to gather social media information
to ensure hiring personnel have no access to
Provide the researcher with a checklist to
document both oﬀensive and favorable
Researcher should print or copy oﬀending
material and give appropriate material to the
If you decide not to hire a candidate based on your ﬁndings, present
them with the ﬁndings along with the basis for concern and give them
a chance to explain.
Hiring a background screening company represents another
alternative than using social media to conduct background checks.
While social networks represent a low cost or free tool, the legal risks
may cost considerably if done incorrectly.