Social Media Screening for New Hires? Proceed With Caution!

At the speed of well, light, social media has exploded as the favored recruiting and screening tool for many recruiters and employers. National surveys say 73 percent of HR and recruiting professionals now rely on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and corporate blogs to identify, approach, and check out candidates for job openings.

Why? The social networking approach is inexpensive, easy to use, and it offers both a huge audience of job seekers and the tools to sort through them quickly and efficiently.

But, make no mistake; there are pitfalls and potential risks for employers. From the violation of discrimination and privacy laws, to reliance on the oft times unreliable information that is available on social media sites. If you’re not prepared to recognize and avoid the potential pitfalls, you could be greeted with a nasty legal surprise!

Potential Pitfalls From Social Media Screening  For Hires

You will need answers to these and other questions before proceeding… and even then, do so with caution

  • Which federal and state laws come into play when you use Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media channels to make employment decisions?
  • What information must you disclose to applicants when you use social media to screen them?
  • How can you proceed safely if you discover potentially negative information on the Internet about an applicant?
  • What are the dangers of relying on social media data about an applicant that may prove later to be unreliable, completely false, or defamatory?

There are many other unique legal issues you may face when using social media for recruiting and screening. You could even face negligent hiring claims. Our best advice would be to consult with a professional who understands the social media landscape before proceeding.

About the author: Daren Fristoe is president of The Fristoe Group, Inc. (TFG), a solutions provider of human resource products and services for small to mid-sized businesses. During his professional career, Daren has worked in human resources, training and education, benefits and salary administration, general office management, franchise services, communication, corporate marketing and event management, as well as community service outreach programs.

For questions or advice on dealing with HR issues from the mundane to the complex, contact TFG at or reach Daren at 816-392-7298

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. Business Development recruitment says

    I agree. One should really be careful in recruiting new hires. Do not just based them on Social Media nor in their blogs because you don’t know how true the information that you are reading.

    By the way, wanted to retweet this post but I’m having a hard time doing it. I’ll try it again. I already have a Tweet Meme account. Maybe I’ll just used shortening sites.


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