Image: ShutterstockIn fact, our latest research shows that when it comes to recruitment, social is on the up, with 29 per cent of EMEA companies checking candidates’ LinkedIn profiles during the recruitment process, 14 per cent of firms checking Facebook and six per cent Twitter. But, while social is a great way to reach candidates efficiently and cost effectively, businesses are also considering whether to use these social channels as an opportunity to better understand candidates’ backgrounds and behaviour – i.e. as part of their screening processes. We can all see the benefits – social profiles are easily accessible, free of cost, and can help provide a fuller picture of an individual – however, there are also significant red flags over whether you could be crossing the lines of the law when it comes to social screening. So, here are my tips on how to ensure you are adopting the right approach. The law and the FACTs: Fair, Auditable, Consistent, Transparent The biggest issue when it comes to social screening is the legality of it all. From a data protection perspective, the Information Commissioner’s Office code of practice cautions against intelligence gathering beyond verifying information supplied by a candidate, except in areas of risk – such as jobs involving childcare or in regulated environments. So, the extent to which a recruiter is seeking information on an individual’s private life, without consent, could become a concern. Equality is also an issue. People use social media to document their private lives, so if a potential employer looks at these channels they could become aware of a candidate’s ‘protected’ characteristics, such as nationality, sexual orientation, marital status or disability. These factors are usually withheld to ensure fairness, and at an extreme, a candidate could sue for discrimination. Verification challenges – take nothing at face value Carrying out candidate research on social media also throws up a number of question marks over verification. Social profiles, such as LinkedIn, can provide helpful insights into a candidate’s experience, but it’s important to remember this information has not been verified. When you reflect on our latest candidate research, which revealed that almost two thirds of candidates provided inaccurate details on job applications in 2015, it’s clear that there’s nothing to stop them providing erroneous information on their social channels as well. In the age of online, it’s easy to take for granted the information you read on the web (we all do it) but it’s critical to remember that there is rarely any certainty with online content, and a social media profile could easily be inaccurate – so, extra caution needs to be exercised.
Read more on the mix between social media and recruitment:
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Speaking of social media and work, British workers don’t want to befriend colleagues – at least not on Facebook.
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