What NOT to do to avoid lawsuits when hiring social media screening companies

By now, you already know how important social media screening is when it comes to hiring people in your company. As much as possible, you want to make sure that your brand will stay intact and you will do anything to protect it.

For the past few weeks, we have gone over how you are not only risking your brand when you get yourself a bad hire. You are also endangering yourself to have financial consequences and you are risking to have threats to workplace safety.

For sure, you now understand the risk that you are putting yourself into when you chance upon a bad hire because you did not consider doing a social media background check before hiring your applicant.

However, you should also note that apart from the risk that you are getting yourself into when you DON’T do a social media surveillance, you are also risking yourself otherwise. As confusing as it seems, you also have risks when you choose to have your potential hires put under cyber investigation.

Good thing we have your backs covered here. After reading about the trends and deciding to go and get your applicants checked, but then being scared again because of the possible repercussions, you need a guideline. We created a list of things that you should avoid doing when you start to monitor social media presences of your potential hires.

1. Don’t do it immediately.
One risk of having a social search done on all your potential applicants is that when you do find something and you decide to not hire them, they can file a lawsuit against you if your reason was because of their social media score. You can face complaints about invading privacy and other reasons.

All you have to do is wait it out. Do not ask for a digital footprint investigation unless the applicant has gone to several interviews and is actually near the hiring stage. In this way, they won’t be able to blame you for not hiring them just because you saw something in their social media activities.

2. Do not snoop.
Do not, for whatever reason look at the applicant’s profiles personally. You let the HR professionals or the social media experts to that job. Even the future supervisors of the said applicant has no right to look into it and will be endangering your company into getting a lawsuit if you do snoop.

Besides, you and the supervisor are not trained to have your ears up and eyes open when it comes to checking social media accounts. What would spark a red flag for the trained professionals may not mean anything to you. So about snooping, just leave it to the professional online private investigators.

3. Do not be inconsistent.
When you decide to have an applicant checked, you should not be singling out any one. If you do get one checked, then you have to have everyone who applies for that position checked. Having someone checked just because you think something is up, and failing to check the other applicants vying for the same job position is a big hole for your company.

When the applicant who didn’t get hired because of his social media report finds out that you only had his profile checked and not his competition, this is something you will have a hard time defending in court. As much as possible, be consistent in everything you do when it comes to having someone checked. A consistent record can help you when it comes to lawsuits.

You can also consider re-screening your current employees, but you have to remember that you should be consistent about this.

4. Don’t meddle with private things and petty posts.
To avoid invasion of privacy lawsuits, naturally, you can only search for the things that the applicants shared publicly. Finding out or hacking someone’s password just to go through their private posts and messages is definitely not a good idea, no matter how you look at it.
Also, when looking at posts, only look for the ”very positive” and the “very negative” aspects before you lay down your conclusion. Posting a bottle of beer may not be a very negative thing, but posting a series of photos of partying all night regularly can be very negative.

5. Do not forget to brief your employment background screening firm.

When looking for a firm that can conduct an online investigation to your applicants, you’ll have the set of services and packages that can offer, you can find it on their websites. These are fixed packages but it doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions to them before availing. You also have to ask questions to your HR department before actually going to a social media expert.Consulting these two will save you from unnecessary surprises when it comes to your applicants and processes.

There you go, when you follow these five “Don’ts” in hiring your social media screening firm, you are making sure you won’t be facing any lawsuit against your company soon. Even potential hires that are aware of the ways to fail a social media check and are doing everything to wipe their history will have a hard time fooling you now.

These should help you decide about your pros and cons of getting them. Another way to help you decide is to learn about the common misconceptions that people have about social media checks and of course, try to find out everything you can about what employers needs to know about these social media checks.

Lastly, you should be aware of what is happening in the news and you should train yourself to be more sensitive and to spot red flags about everything you read on social media investigations and even in the internet or newspapers. This, and all the points above will be your best weapons through this.

Author's Bio: 

Digital Uno is a well reknowned blogger who publishes posts for Digital Marketing and anything technology related.