Given the current number of vacancies in the job market and the number of individuals qualified to fulfil them, staying ahead of the competition is essential. UK employers are now standardising the inclusion of Social Media Checks in their hiring process. In this blog, we’ll look into the nitty-gritty of how you should incorporate Social Media Checks into your recruitment practices and policies.
The first step is to ensure that your relevant policies are updated to make it clear that new hires and those changing roles will have their online profiles checked, including their social media presence. This is an essential policy change that promotes transparency and creates a legally compliant recruitment process.
Make sure you inform candidates about these checks as early as possible in the hiring process, preferably when you post the job advert. Be specific about who will conduct the checks and what they will look at. This way, you’re ensuring that candidates give their consent willingly, in line with data protection laws.
When you’re collecting and processing a candidate’s personal data for these checks, it’s crucial to get explicit consent and after receiving the results discuss any concerns openly with the applicant and offer to share the report with them.
Here’s an example of what gaining consent could be like:
“I understand that my background check will include an online search on information that is publicly available, including social media and other sites, according to *insert relevant guidelines if need be*. For this we use a third party professional screening partner, SP Index (www.sp-index.com), experienced in processing personal data for the purpose of such checks”.
To give candidates a clear picture of why these checks are important, you can include statements like:
“All new recruits and staff changing roles will go through an online check (including social media) to protect our standards and values.”
“Our staff should maintain high ethical standards both at work and online, upholding trust in the profession.”
“Analysing up-to-date online behaviour helps us understand our staff’s values, attract the best talent, and maintain inclusion standards.”
“We’ll conduct online vetting following *insert relevant guidelines eg KCSIE*, ensuring best practice.”
Data Storage and Confidentiality
Clearly explain how you’ll handle and store the data. Outline how long you’ll keep the checks in your records, typically for a set period, like six years.
In summary, carrying out these checks is desirable and entirely legal, as long as you follow the guidelines. If you need any further support, you can either contact us at SP Index or seek advice from your legal representative.
Disclaimer : Please note, the information provided in this blog does not, and is not intended to constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials used are for general informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. We encourage you to consult with your legal counsel to obtain legal advice specific to your needs, your general policies, your risk attitude and approach towards candidates and all stakeholders involved in the process of recruitment and vetting.