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75% of hiring managers check social media for age and political activity

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HR and not hiring managers should be checking for online red flags 

Results from a recent survey conducted by ResumeBuilder.com on June 12 reveal that nearly 75% of hiring managers incorporate social media checks into their candidate evaluation process. The survey findings shed light on the motivations behind this practice, as well as the potential implications for job applicants.

The majority of hiring managers stated that they turn to social media to gather information that they are legally restricted from asking directly during interviews. Specifically, these managers seek insights into candidates’ age, political activity, gender identity, and marital status. However, opinions on whether these online findings heavily influence hiring decisions were divided among the respondents.

Notably, the survey also highlighted the need for training programs for hiring managers. About 41% of respondents deemed the practice of reviewing candidates’ social media profiles as “definitely” acceptable within their companies, with slightly fewer respondents expressing overall acceptance. In contrast, only 6% found it unacceptable, while 2% were certain it is unacceptable, and 14% remained unsure about their stance on the matter.

HR professionals have stressed the importance of establishing clear guidelines and training programs to regulate the use of social media in the hiring process. These guidelines should be designed to prevent the inclusion of protected factors, such as age and religion, and to ensure consistency and fairness in candidate evaluation.

One management-side attorney proposed a solution: HR should assume responsibility for screening candidates’ social media accounts and restrict hiring managers from conducting these checks. By implementing this safeguard, the person assessing social media for potential red flags, such as hate speech, would not be the same person making the final hiring decision. Such measures can help eliminate biases and protect applicants’ rights during the recruitment process.

In conclusion, the survey findings indicate that a significant number of hiring managers rely on social media to gain additional insights into job candidates. However, there is a growing recognition of the need for training and guidelines to promote fairness and prevent discrimination in the hiring process.


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