Keeping Your Social Media Account Clean

June 6, 2013

Thirty-seven percent of companies use social networking sites to research job candidates, according to a 2012 nationwide survey by Harris Interactive. Many medical directors are finding themselves conducting a quick search of physicians who they may be interested in hiring, to see if anything worrisome will surface.

The survey showed of those who use social media, 65% want to see if candidates present themselves professionally, 51% wanted to determine if a candidate was a good fit for the company culture, and 45% wanted to learn more about a candidate’s qualifications. Twelve percent said they looked online for reasons not to hire a candidate. The survey included more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals in various industries.

With the social networking site Facebook claiming 1 billion users and the business networking site LinkedIN touting 175 million users, experts say social media has become a part of just about everybody’s life.  Healthcare administrators are generally free to scour these kinds of sites for potential red flags or greater insight, as long as the information can be viewed publically. What is less acceptable, and in some states illegal, is requiring a job candidate to provide the password to their social media account, or using personal information protected by law against the candidate.

Do’s and Don’ts of Searching Online

  • There is a legal risk of gaining access to information that the practice can’t use legally in the hiring process, such as ethnicity, religion, disability and pregnancy.
  • Hire a third party with a background in screening job candidates to conduct the search, because that person would know the state laws on the matter.
  • Limit the search to sites like LinkedIN, where information relevant to the job is more likely to be found.