Washington Labor Law Blog: Insights on the Law for Washington Employers

Tips for Using Social-Networking Sites to Screen Applicants

Molly DiBianca recently wrote a helpful 3-part series on The Delaware Employment Law Blog regarding tips for employers to follow when using Facebook or other social-networking sites to screen applicants.  Here are a few of her key suggestions:

  • Do not try to gain access to an applicant’s profile directly through tactics such as asking a friend of the applicant to show you the applicant’s profile.
  • Develop a written checklist of key things to search for.  The list should include (a) key things about an applicant that would give you concern about the applicant, such as the the use of hate language or promoting the use of illegal drugs, and (b) key things that you would like about an applicant, such as authoring a well-written blog.
  • Have someone not involved in the hiring decision perform the actual search for items on the list.  This insulates the decision maker from learning things about the applicant’s protected status such as his or her race.  It makes it much easier to defend against a claim that a decision not to hire was because of an applicant’s protected status when the decision maker was unaware of that status!

Molly’s tips regarding having a checklist and having a non-decision maker perform the search apply equally to employers performing general internet searches about applicants.

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