Don’t Use Facebook When Hiring!
Recently, there have been a number of news stories about the use of Facebook and other social media sites in hiring. Unfortunately, if you follow some of this advice you are taking a huge risk. Asking prospective employees for their Facebook password or searching Facebook, other social media sites or the internet for information regarding potential or current employees has significant, potential legal ramifications. There may not be a statute that prohibits it, but you should avoid the temptation regardless.
Here’s why…every good employer knows that they shouldn’t screen candidates or ask prospective employees certain questions that are based upon protected characteristics or factors (i.e. – how old are you, are you pregnant, are you married, are you a Christian, etc). You don’t ask those questions because if you don’t hire someone or you fire someone after asking those questions there is a potential implication that your decision was based on that information. This could lead to claims of discrimination. Now, while you aren’t asking those questions when you look at a candidate’s social media page or google his or her name on the interest, you are not off the hook. Think about what happens when you look at someone’s Facebook page or when you Google them. You might see that they drank too much on Spring Break, but more significantly you are very likely to discover the answers to those question you should not ask. And, once you know the answer to those questions, you can’t un-know it. You have put yourself and your company in the same precarious situation as if you had asked the questions directly to the candidate during the application process or at the interview. If you have concerns about a candidate’s or your employees’ past, ask them to agree to a criminal background report.
So, you have to ask yourself, which is more valuable that Facebook search or your company’s Facebook page and its exposure to a potential discrimination claim…