Can you screen candidates using social media?

NPA Essential

Can you screen candidates using social media?

A number of employers feel that social media can be a great way to research candidates and get a taste of whether they could be a good organisational fit. But there are some risks for your pharmacy that you need to think about. Laura Chalkley, an Employment Advisory Service Manager at NPA business partner Ellis Whittam, explains.

Are you discriminating?
The main risk that arises from an employer using social media during the recruitment process is the risk of claims of unlawful discrimination, so make sure that any information you obtain from social media is not used in a discriminatory way to avoid costly claims.

Is the information you find accurate?
It is diffi cult to know whether all the information on their profi le is the truth, accurately represents them as a person and if you have even found the right person.

Are there privacy or data protection concerns?
At present, it is not clear how far a ‘right to privacy’ applies in respect of social media. However, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development advises that to avoid the risk of legal claims, you should make applicants aware that you may carry out searches on their social media accounts. The applicant should also be given the chance to make comments on the accuracy of any discoveries you make, where those fi ndings are part of the decision-making process.

Am I missing out on good candidates?
Just relying on the information on social media could mean you are missing out on the best candidates in the market.

Do things change under the General Data Protection Regulations?
Guidelines put forward by EU data protection agencies state that employers should have a ‘legal ground’ before checking up on social media accounts. The data they gather must be necessary and relevant to the performance of the job. These are nonbinding recommendations, but they could be used to interpret the regulations when they come into force next May.

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