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If you rely on social media to paint for you a full and complete picture about your job applicants and employees, you are going to be very disappointed.

According to a recent survey, 43% of workers use privacy settings to keep material hidden from employers, and 46% have searched for their own names and taken further measures to conceal their social media presence based on what they found.

What types of information are they hiding?

  • 70% are shielding their personal lives
  • 56% their unprofessional behavior
  • 44% their political views.
  • 50% have deleted entire profiles or old posts to protect their professional reputations
What do these numbers tell us about social media background checks? That you cannot rely on them as your lone pre-hire check of employees. Yes, there is lots of valuable information you can discover on social media about a prospective employee. how they present themselves; whether they post inappropriate photos, videos, or statements; if they are sexist or racist; are they good communicators; do they have good judgment.
But, if candidates are hiding this information behind privacy settings, or deleting it altogether, then if you only rely on social media, then you are missing most or all of the relevant information. If you want to check a candidate’s background on social media, do it only as part of a more holistic screening process that includes a more traditional background check.

And, don’t forget my number one rule of social recruiting — don’t inadvertently discovery protected EEO information.

This post originally appeared on the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, and was written by Jon Hyman, Partner, Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis. Jon can be reached at via email at jhyman@meyersroman.com, via telephone at 216-831-0042, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter.

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