HR Professionals: Stop Reviewing Candidates’ Social Media Accounts Immediately!

December 29, 2020

Did we really advise you to stop conducting social media scans of potential candidates?! We did. But, don’t worry—we don’t mean permanently. In fact, we hope you do resume social media monitoring and scanning…but in a way that’s safe. As an HR director, you are vulnerable. This is true even if you know the United States Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance guidelines— and even if your search firm has protections like EPLI employment practices liability insurance. And, because you could be at risk, so is your company. 

Even if you have the purest motives— searching for information about your top candidates on social media platforms—a turned-down applicant may not see it that way. Neither, in some cases, will the court, should the said applicant file a claim with the EEOC. 

The silver lining here: There is a way to still conduct social monitoring of candidates without putting your company in a compromising position. 

Cautionary Tale: Using Social Media Monitoring Tools the Wrong Way

As a human resources professional, you know (just as we do), that social media scans are often the lifeblood to finding and vetting job candidates. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) also knows this, reporting that social media recruitment is increasing with 84% of organizations currently using it, and an additional 9% planning to use it. To be told to “stop immediately,” therefore, likely has your heart racing. Not to worry. The first step is understanding why you, as a “human” human resources professional, are at risk.

From applicant to hired employee, the (EEOC) stipulates that each person has “protected characteristics.” This means that under no circumstances, can a job candidate or employee be discriminated against on anything related to their race, color, national origin, gender, age, disability, or citizen/immigration status. 

Because you’re human, you’re biassed. Even if you don’t intentionally engage in discrimination during a profile sweep of a candidate’s social media platforms, what’s to say they won’t call you out? 

In fact, the EEOC, provides this very caution:

“…improper use of information obtained from such sites may be discriminatory since most individuals’ race, gender, general age and possibly ethnicity can be discerned from information on these sites.”

Furthermore, how do you know for sure that you haven’t or won’t even accidentally cross the line of “improper use.” 

Once an applicant or employee suggests their protected characteristics have been compromised, your company may pay the price. 

Social Media Monitoring Services Literally Save the Day

Social media monitoring services, like LifeBrand, protect recruitment companies and HR departments by offering unbiased social-media scanning. Our FCRA and EEOC compliant social media monitoring software operates via a reputation management technology run on artificial intelligence (AI). 

Unlike humans (even those with the best intentions) AI quite literally is incapable of scanning social media discriminatorily. This means that the risk for discrimination liability is significantly decreased. And, because our social media scanning is technology-based, it also helps save you significant time. 

We have helped the HR departments of companies and businesses of all shapes and sized to safely vet applicants’ social media, more efficiently find quality candidates, and have performed upwards of 100,000 scans. And, through these scans, our AI has detected more than 3.3 million potentially harmful posts! 

Don’t put yourself or your company at risk of legal ramifications by “hand vetting.” Let LifeBrand protect and propel your business. 

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