January 30, 2017  

SHRM's New Guidelines on Social Media Screening

Social Media Background Checks Pre-Employment Background Checks Recruiting

Policies and practices for human resources are ever-changing, with hiring decisions increasingly based on social media screening and aggregate data.  While the human element is still a pervasive factor in hiring, we’ve seen an indisputable rise in online tools to screen people. According to CareerBuilder, social media screening has gone up by 500% since 2006, with 70% of employers checking people's online profiles during the recruiting and hiring process. This number will only rise. And now, for the first time, the industry has policies on how to do social screening. This is a big deal.

SHRM's new guidelines on social media screening

For several years, HR departments have had the tools of online screening at their disposal, but lacked a consistent framework for applying them. Now, thanks to an industry authority, we finally have the beginnings of a policy to follow. The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently released a report on 2017 Employment Screening Trends which provides some best practices. It states that “more organizations will develop formal policies for how searches will be executed, and who will conduct them and how the information will be reviewed.” The release of these guidelines is a huge development for the support of social media screening, particularly by third-party services like Fama.

The fact that SHRM is voicing support for screening is not only a momentous occasion for the employment screening industry; it also says a lot about where HR is going. Social screening is becoming not only the norm; it’s now one of the most important criteria in hiring. HR requires the same scrutiny as it did before the social media age. This means transparency, compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and consistent, precise criteria that lets you scan for job-related factors on candidates’ social media profiles that safeguards you and your potential hires from discriminatory, unethical behavior. Specifically, SHRM recommends working with a third-party screening service to protect against subjective bias and legal risk. These vendors, including Fama, will only present information relevant to the search and in compliance with FCRA.

We can’t understate how crucial this development is. These guidelines are a signal in the HR industry that social screening is more important than ever. In following these new guidelines you can stand out as leader in your field, with an edge on your competitors and the peace of mind in knowing that you are following best practices and protecting potential and employees and your own organization in the hiring process. Let us know if you want to talk more about this changing HR climate, what you can do to remain ahead of the pack, and what we can do to help.

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