Social Media and Recruitment

The days of socially media being predominantly used as a source of entertainment or keeping in touch, have evolved and personal content on social media may occasionally be used by employers to screen potential and current employees. Employers are looking for any red flags such as sharing of illegal activities, offensive comments, violent or aggressive behaviour, sexually explicit material, or confidential information. Social media screening can reveal information about the candidate which is beyond their CV.

There are many valid and justifiable reasons for monitoring employee’s social media, including:

  • to protect the interests of the business and its confidential information
  • to maintain business reputation
  • for marketing and advertising
  • to ensure compliance with post termination restrictions
  • to manage any misconduct arising from social media

Considering the context in which your business operates will determine if it is appropriate and necessary to monitor social media. Some information revealed through a social media screening is protected by privacy and data protection legislation and therefore cannot be used in recruitment decisions. Not complying with data protection laws could create problems for employers.

Other risks include making recruitment decisions based on protected characteristics, which may not be compliant with the Equality Act 2010.

While there are risks, social media checks itself are still legal, provided they are conducted lawfully and correctly. However, some of what may be discovered through the checks may be information that employers are legally prohibited from considering when evaluating candidates. Processing personal data without reasonable grounds will be seen to be illegal.

If you have any concerns about this subject or general advice, contact us at and we can discuss.

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