Have You Ever Snooped on a Candidate’s Facebook?

In an age dominated by social media, many employers will admit to having done their fair share of snooping on a potential applicant’s online profile. But how harmless is this activity and how much does – and should – it impact hiring choices?

It is a query that divides employers and candidates alike. Writing for City AM, Keely Rushmore, a Senior Associate at SA Law ponders on just how legal the practice is. “While a seemingly handy recruitment tool, pre-employment vetting needs to be used with caution,” she explains.

So, how should you approach the question of research gathering – or rather, online digging – in the recruitment process? Here are three things to keep in mind next time you are tempted to do some Facebook stalking of your own…

The legal side

Rushmore warns that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter often share information that is protected under equality legislation. These include details like sexual orientation, race or religious beliefs which, by law, cannot impact hiring practices. Equality laws were established to give marginalised groups protection and should a decision be made based on information found on social media, it may rightly result in a claim.

“Recording or using information about candidates from websites will fall under the data protection legislation, and it’s crucial to ensure that you don’t fall foul of its requirements,” she adds.

Alternative options

While a quick social media check isn’t the only way to mine information about applicants, it is by far the easiest. However, Rushmore urges us not to befall temptation.

Instead, she suggests that it should only be used as a means of obtaining specific information that is relevant to the role you’re hiring for, and only where there is no other less intrusive way of getting your hands on that information.

Be transparent

If you still want to conduct a social media investigation, it is important that you mention that you do so during the application process. Rushmore states that employers must fully inform the candidate that their social media pages will be examined. Moreover, if you do it for one, you must do it for all.

There are easier ways to find the perfect candidate than snooping on their social media profiles – by registering with SG Financial Recruitment, for example! Why not contact us today and let us help you find the perfect fit?