Firms using social media candidate screening warned DIY approach ‘risky’

(2 minutes to read)

Sterling: ‘We’ve seen more employers using these online platforms as vetting tools. However, there are significant risks associated with social media screening if it’s not implemented compliantly, and a do-it-yourself approach could expose an employer to challenges of discrimination’.

With demand for candidate social media checks increasing by 120% over the last year, employers are being warned that a ‘DIY’ approach to screening could lead to challenges of discrimination.

The Sterling data reported that the vetting of candidate profiles online is now seen as a valuable addition to traditional screening, however, if you don’t know what to look for, employers risk ending up with an incomplete or inaccurate picture, which could lead to being influenced by unconscious biases.

Tim Stokes, Head of Sales, EMEA, at Sterling, explained further, “Social media usage surged during the pandemic as people looked to fill a ‘social void’ as in-person restrictions were put in place, so it’s perhaps no surprise that, in line with this spike in personal use, we’ve seen more employers using these online platforms as vetting tools. However, there are significant risks associated with social media screening if it’s not implemented compliantly, and a do-it-yourself approach could expose an employer to challenges of discrimination.”

“It’s important to consider that social media screening should only be used to identify behaviours that are portrayed online that could be cause for concern for the business or the job role specifically. It could include anything that may be derogatory, bigoted, indicate violent behaviour or obvious discrimination, for example. It should not be used to identify particular characteristics of an individual that wouldn’t necessarily be screened in a ‘standard’ vetting process.”

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Stokes added, “If you take a DIY approach and simply scan a social media platform to look at an applicant’s profile and activity, you may not know what to look for, you may end up with an incomplete or inaccurate picture, and you run the risk of being influenced by unconscious biases. This could lead to making bad decisions and even being challenged by a candidate that a decision not to hire has been made based on a protected characteristic. That’s where professional social media screening experts and tools can remove the risks for employers.”

“Social media screening isn’t new, but companies are more confident now than they were just a few years ago when it was arguably in its infancy. But that confidence shouldn’t translate into complacency and the view that a DIY approach can work. This can be incredibly risky, especially where firms are perhaps relying on one person’s viewpoint. In order to compliantly screen an applicant online you need to ensure that you’re only flagging information from an individual’s social media profile that is relevant to their job. A human can’t filter that out, but tech and AI can.”

To find out more about contracting please contact Jaime on 01442 795 100 or email

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Dolan Accountancy was set up by Simon J Dolan, the man behind the well-known brand SJD Accountancy. With over 25 years experience in the contracting marketing, Dolan Accountancy has the heritage, reputation and credibility you can trust. Working closely with our sister company, Contractor Umbrella, it means we can offer one low cost, fixed fee package at £95 + VAT per month. This gives you the flexibility of using both our Limited Company Accountancy Services and our award winning Umbrella Service, for one inclusive cost. We don’t believe in tiered packages or hidden extra fees, instead we aim to give you everything you need, including:

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