We use social media in every avenue of our daily lives. That includes the workplace. Blocking internet use in the office doesn’t stop employees from texting and using smart phones to talk to their friends and family.
Therefore, be sure to have a clear, legally compliant social media policy that addresses the issue, including its impact on background checks.
Balance Social Media Usage with Right to Privacy
First, when developing any type of company policy, be sure to understand current laws and their impact.
Next, when it comes to creating a social media policy, experts make these suggestions:
- Don’t use social media to screen candidates for employment
- Don’t ask job seekers for their social media passwords
- Speak with counsel before disciplining or firing employees for social media content
- Make sure your social media policy is “current, effective, and enforceable”
- Train employees about the company’s social media policy
- Provide guidelines for social media behavior that dissuades employees from using inappropriate online behavior (such as vulgar or discriminatory language), disparages company products and services, or discloses confidential or proprietary company information
- Stay abreast of the latest legal developments and adjust your policies and practices accordingly
Finally, check out the June 2012 ERE.com article, “Top 10 Guidelines for Social Media Background Checks,” for more suggestions on how to marry social media with background checks.
Don’t Go It Alone When You Conduct Background Checks
There are services available to help you conduct background checks, so don’t feel like you have to go it alone. Those in the know suggest you consider the investigating firm’s experience in the field, the cost of the process, and the level of detail they provide. Additionally, you may want to ask what sources the screening company uses to verify the information they provide is complete and accurate.