AWI e-briefs - 01/22/2015 (Plain Text Version)

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Should Employers Use Social Media to Screen Prospective Job Applicants?

From Insperity

Companies hiring employees should resist the urge to use the Internet to find out more information about job applicants. Visiting social media sites can expose employers to information that cannot be used legally in applicant screening. Even if the information is not taken into account, merely having been exposed to it can cause legal issues for the recruiter and the company.

There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to using social media for applicant screening, including:

  • Social media screening may reveal an applicant’s demographic or religious information, which is unlawful to use for hiring purposes and can lead to discrimination charges.
  • The applicant’s social media presence can prove to be an inaccurate reflection of his or her work ethic.
  • It can have a negative impact on diversity at a company.
  • There are legal implications related to privacy.

In short, it is best to refrain from using social media to screen job candidates. The process may open the door to lawsuits and harm a company’s reputation. However, employers who find social media screening necessary should be sure to define the process and obtain written permission if an employer uses a third party to conduct a background check.

About Insperity

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 28 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution. Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees.  With 2013 revenues of $2.3 billion, Insperity operates in 57 offices throughout the United States. For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit
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