Career Advice

Using Social Media to Vet Potential Candidates

Posted by Sally
min read
Jakob Owens W Umb E Brpjs Unsplash

There are countless blogs about the dangers of social media when looking for a job.

Anyone at all, is well within their rights to search a person’s name on Google, Instagram or Facebook and see what comes up. It’s the decisions made after that, which can cause issues for an employer.

Most social media sites don’t allow employers to garner information about job seekers. In keeping with privacy policies, to gather any sort of information requires the user’s consent, which many Australian businesses don’t do. Furthermore, the employee records exemption in the Privacy Act, doesn’t cover jobseekers and applicants. This means employers must be very careful with the information gathered, particularly if it is recorded.

Another area to consider relates to discrimination and potential Fair Work claims. A job seeker could assume and make the claim that they haven’t been selected for a position because of information obtained from social media. Examples include posts of a job seeker’s religious or relationship preferences, or photos that indicate union membership.

Strategies to mitigate any potential issues include implementing policies that cover social media within the recruitment process. Hiring managers should be informed and trained on the risks associated with using social media platforms to vet job seeker’s applications, particularly if the information gathered is put anywhere in writing. Informing the job seekers and obtaining their consent, is a simple way around the issue and keeping written records why a job seeker’s application was rejected, can help show why.

Considering Generation Z were born after the advent of the internet, the fact that a person’s life is shared on social media is a part of everyday life. Using social media to gain a fuller understanding of a potential employee’s personality is great, but risky. Taking into consideration the above points will help ensure your business isn’t caught out!