Employers are looking at a variety of social media sites such as google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to conduct Pre Employment Screening . These sites allow an employer to look at the applicant behind the scenes and take a peek at different aspects of the individual – not only professionally, but socially. And although many states are forbidding login access, employers can still have free rein, so long as it’s within the confines of what is considered public information.
Utah recently passed the Internet Employment Privacy Act (H.B. 100) which prohibits an employer from requesting employees or applicant’s to grant access to their social media accounts. The law further prevents employers from taking adverse action on a candidate refusing to provide such information. There are at least a dozen states that have similar laws in place.
CareerBuilder conducted a survey to find out what employers are trying to learn about their potential candidates. The hiring managers said they were looking at the character and personality of the candidate. 65% of those surveyed said they would like to see how the candidate presents himself/herself professionally. Nearly half want to know if the individual is a good fit within their organization. And 12% want to look for reasons not to hire the candidate.
A third of the employers surveyed said they found reasons not to hire the candidate. Reasons for this included: something they deemed inappropriate, and content that contradicted their qualifications. About half of these employers said they found evidence of drinking or drug use. Nearly a third said he/she bad mouthed previous employers. While almost a quarter – 22% said the candidate had lied about his or her qualifications.
While it may seem that employers are only using this information to find red flags on a candidate, they are in fact using the information to find positive information on the applicant. About 29% of hiring managers said they have found information that caused them to hire a candidate. Almost 60% said they had a positive feeling about the candidate’s personality. While 49% said the candidate had great communication skills. And, 34% said he or she had great references on their social media profiles.
Social media investigating may be a valuable tool to learn more about your candidate’s background; however it is just one tool. You are not going to find out if someone committed a serious criminal offense therefore a comprehensive background screening is essential. Many applicants are becoming increasingly savvy and aware of the impact of their social media profiles including setting privacy controls so less information can be exposed.