Checking social media sites when hiring? Proceed with caution

Law remains unclear and there’s the potential of running afoul of human rights
By Rob Pickell
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/28/2011

The use of social media is rapidly growing at a time when issues related to privacy are under discussion in all areas of employment — especially background screening. For employers and hiring professionals keen to make the best possible talent selection, while protecting a company’s assets and reputation, it’s logical to assume they should gather as much information as possible about a job candidate.

When candidates have conveniently put their information online and an HR person is already using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to recruit, why not do a quick screening review of candidate information on social networking sites?

The problem is the legal landscape regarding social media has barely begun to be explored. What is clear is there’s a trend toward increased protection of job applicant privacy when it comes to employment background screening.