Should recruiters use social media for background checks?

A recruiter is trying to fill a job requisition and thinks she has found the perfect candidate. The recruiter is ready to make the job offer but decides to check some social media sites as a further background check on the applicant. On Facebook the candidate has posted that he only plans to stay in the geographic area for a year, and will then be moving on to another location. Should the recruiter contact the candidate and confront him? Should the applicant be removed from contention? Or should the recruiter move forward with the hire?

This was a real-life situation raised at the IDGA HR for Defense Summit yesterday. One participant thought it was inappropriate to use the information, while another pointed out that the individual had posted the information on a social media site. One more reminder to check your Facebook privacy settings!

Here’s Raghav Singh’s take on the issue in a recent blog post about using social media for background checks. And a Microsoft survey reporting 70% of recruiters have rejected a candidate based on online reputational information.

So what happened to the candidate in question moving to another area? He was removed from consideration for the position. What do you think the recruiter should have done and why?

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Kathleen Smith

thanks for the really great discussion points. I think that we will see this continually change over the coming months and years as job seekers learn better how to market themselves and employers learn better how to use social media mining for their recruiting.