Q. Can I use social networking websites to screen potential job
Social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn provide a wealth of information to employers seeking to learn more about potential job candidates during the recruitment process. With that abundant amount of information, however, employers may gain knowledge that cannot be used in making employment determinations and could result in legal repercussions.
For example, an individual's online profile may show previous job experiences, educational background, or connections with other employees. On the other hand, such websites may reveal an individual's sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status and health issues. New Jersey's law against discrimination, as well as various federal statutes, prohibit employers from engaging in discrimination based on these and other characteristics when interviewing, recruiting, hiring, or promoting employees. Once the employer gains information about these traits while viewing an individual's social networking profile, it may prove impossible to separate that information from consideration during the hiring process.
How do employers take advantage of the vast amount of helpful information available through online social networking websites without transgressing the law and creating an opportunity for litigation? One potential solution is to implement a "screening" process to keep potentially problematic information from reaching those responsible for hiring decisions.
By designating one individual or a third party to conduct online searches of prospective employees, any "tainted" information can be removed from the search results. A separate individual or group could then interview candidates and make the ultimate hiring determination, thus insulating the process from the infected information. Employers should implement a company policy regarding how such information is gathered and reviewed during the employment process to avoid practices that could be viewed as discriminatory.
Because each business situation is unique, employers should consult with an attorney about drafting such a policy to meet the individual needs of his or her particular business.
Most Popular Stories
- SEO Traffic Lab Celebrate Wins at Digital Marketing Event 'Internet World 2013' in London
- Social Media Initiatives Should Follow Customers' Lead
- Apple CEO: Offshore Units Not a 'Tax Gimmick'
- U.S. Senate Accuses Apple of Large-scale Tax Avoidance
- UTEP Water Recycling Project Wins Venture Titles
- Marketo Makes a Mint in IPO: Stock Shoots Up More than 50 Percent
- Bieber Booed at Billboard Awards
- Crude Oil Up, Gasoline Down
- Austin Startup Compare Metrics Raises $3.5 Million for Expansion
- Why So Many Top 'Car Guys' Are Actually Women