Take caution when screening job applicants online

by. Christopher A. Pajack

Over the past few years, the pre-employment screening process for job applicants has taken some unconventional turns. Gone are the days of relying solely on the traditional interview process followed by reference checks and a possible background check. More and more employers, including credit unions, are relying heavily on the Internet—particularly social media sites—to screen job applicants. There is no question that there are benefits to utilizing these resources.

Most candidates do a great job of presenting themselves in an interview and telling you what you want to hear. However, digging into the things they post via social media sites may paint a very different picture of the applicant and the type of person you might be hiring.

However, there are also risks associated with this approach. Online searches often lend themselves to learning protected information about a candidate, which could then lead to making an illegal hiring decision.

For example, let’s say before or after an interview, you decide to view an applicant’s Facebook page. Upon doing so, you view posts and pictures which disclose the applicant’s age, race, and sexual orientation, or a recent announcement that she is pregnant. You now have information that should have absolutely no bearing on your decision to hire this person.

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