This article is a guest post by Melonie Boone at Boone Management Group. Melonie has a passion for business and education. She currently holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management from Loyola University of Chicago, a Master of Business Administration in Management from Florida Metropolitan University as well as a Master of Jurisprudence in Business Law and Corporate Governance from Loyola University Law School. Her comprehensive experience in optimizing strategic planning initiatives to achieve organizational goals allows her to work as a trusted adviser to entrepreneurs, business owners and senior management teams. Melonie has the ability to create, implement and execute strategic plans for every area of our clients business.
So you have the perfect candidate and you want to check them out online. Most of us almost instinctively conduct a Google search or check out their Tweets, Facebook or other social media outlets trying to get the inside scoop on a candidate. What we don’t realize is the risks associated with taking adverse action based on what we find. Social media sites can give you protected information like age, ethnicity and race. It can also include political affiliation, religious beliefs, disability and other personal information that if used in a hiring decision can be seen a discriminatory.
Before you make a decision to deny a person’s employment based on something you find on the web, please refer these following steps and read the article at the links below.
Tips to minimize your risk:
Ask some basic questions:
1. Why do you want to use social media?
2. What is the utility of doing the search?
3. What information are you hoping to find?
4. Is candidate use of social media a plus or a minus?
5. Is it critical to the position? (For some jobs, you may need someone thoroughly familiar with online sites and procedures; for others, there is no need.)
When Should You Search?
Do your search after the interview but before the offer, or make the offer contingent on passing the check? Before the search, get prior consent from the applicant.
Who Should Search?
“For sure,” says Meyer, a partner with Dilworth Paxson LLP in Philadelphia, “don’t let the person making the hiring decision do the online check.” Consider using:
• A third party
• A member of the HR department
• Another non-decision-maker
How Should You Search?
“The ad hoc approach is stupid,” says Meyer. Be organized about your search:
- Have a policy.
- Train people on your policy. (“Hiring managers, resist the temptation to go to Google.”)
- Develop a checklist. Write out a list of what you want to know, says Meyer.
• Expressions of hate
• Drug use
• Sexual content
• Disparaging comments about work
• Mean things about customers
• Volume of online activity (updating status every 10 minutes, tweeting every 15)
• Good judgment
• Good writing
The checkers go down the checklist and only the checklist. They don’t report on protected characteristics.
Document your procedure so that you can show consistency in your checking activities.
It only takes a second to make a costly mistake. If you choose to use social media as a source for screening a candidate remember Meyer’s tips, use sound judgment and measure the entire interview process before making an adverse decision based off of what you find on the web.