Can I Google my Candidates?

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In a time where finding information is right at your fingertips, resist the temptation to Google your applicants in place of your pre-employment background check.

At first glance, it appears to be a valued option.

But, these open internet searches as pre-employment background checks have limited value — and you’re better off avoiding because it can provide information that shouldn’t be used when making a hiring decision.

Why you shouldn’t Google your candidates

Internet, social media screening puts hiring managers at risk of making biased decisions when they come across protected class information such as age, gender, race, disability, or religion. Other concerns include:

  • The wrong person might be reviewed — what if your search finds two people with similar or identical names? How do you verify you have the right person?
  • Anyone can say pretty much anything on the internet — there aren’t rules that prevent people from posting false or damaging information about another person. How do you decide if you are reading fact or malicious fiction?
  • Some people use a pseudonym online — again, how do you verify you have the right person.

Using an objective third party background check screener for your checks is a good way to stop you from seeing protected candidate information.

And verifying that you are reviewing information about the correct applicant.

The easiest way to avoid bias is to ensure your hiring policies and procedures are clear and detailed — based on assessing a person’s ability to do the job.

These checks are allowed under law and serve as proof of a company’s due diligence and of the applicant’s ability to do the job.

A professional background screener can help you with compliance

Unlike internet searches on your applicants, professional background checks can provide the information you need to make the best hiring decision for your company. All while ensuring you don’t use protected information as a deciding factor. They also provide compliant consent and authorization and disclosure forms so that the information collected is legally useable.

You really need to do proper background checks.

A survey by HR.com found that 96% of the employers surveyed reported that their companies conduct at least one type of employment background screening.

To protect your company from risk, a background check is an important and necessary step before making a hire.

Why should you do a background check?

A background check is a complete review to verify that an applicant is who they claim to be. It provides an opportunity for you to check an applicant’s criminal record, education, employment history, credit history, driving record. . . — helping you make good hiring decisions and protecting your company from risk.

Takeaways

Background checks are the final step — helping you make good hiring decisions. They help secure workspaces, safeguard employees, and make smart hiring decisions. Professional background screeners help you with compliance.

Disclaimer

This article shouldn’t be construed as legal advice. If you have detailed questions, they should be addressed directly with your labor and employment attorney.

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