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Are Facebook Background Checks OK?

Are Facebook Background Checks OK?

Are Facebook background checks and other social media evaluations essential to the new hiring process?

It is becoming a much more common practice for companies to gather as much information about a potential employee as possible before they make the decision to hire them, including searching their social media profiles and completing Facebook background checks.

This has quickly become a controversial topic in today’s hiring process.

On one hand, it’s understandable. An employer may find it very beneficial to see what a future employee does in their spare time, the type of content that interests them, or the way they present themselves and interact with others. All are these traits may be relevant to a future employees value to a company. Additionally, we are reminded that that users of Facebook and Twitter acknowledge and accept that the information they post will be publicly available, so shouldn’t a future employer have a right to access whatever information that’s public? There are privacy settings on social media sites that allow you to regulate who can see what types of content that you post, however, these settings are not always as easy to use and reliable as they may seem.

On the other hand, is there certain point where the process becomes less of an evaluation of skills and character, and more of an invasion of privacy? If so, where should we draw the line? Should employers be able to look at only topics that a future employer has liked? What about statuses? Photos? How deep into a person’s timeline history is it appropriate to search? In addition, this practice of checking how a future employee presents themselves on social media may not always be an accurate representation of the person (for better or for worse).

So, what should an employer do?

It is logical for an employer to want to know as much about their future employee as possible to ensure that they will be a good fit for the position, however, if Facebook background checks are going to continue to become a prevalent step in the hiring process, in addition to interviews, background checks, and resumes, they should be done in a concise, and professional manner. Think of  a social media check as if you were having small talk with the person. Be respectful of their private posts, things that seem to be sensitive in nature, and instead steer your attention to the more relevant information to the position you are looking to fill, such as interests, hobbies, and shared content.

So, what do you think? Should Facebook background checks, and other social media evaluations be allowed at all? Should they be strictly regulated? Do you agree with our recommendations? Feel free to let us know in the comments below, and as always, when looking for employees, never judge a book by it’s cover, or it’s profile picture.