Are FCRA and Social Media Platforms Affecting Job Applicant’s Chances?

FCRA and Social Media Platforms for Job Applicants: What You Need to Know About Why You Might Not be Getting Hired.

Social Media Platforms Affecting Job Applicant's


We all know social media is a great way to stay connected with friends and even businesses we’re interested in, but we also know that social media can be a total cesspool. We post what we want on these platforms, like pictures or videos, memes, and other personal information. We also brazenly post comments that maybe we wouldn’t have shared ‘irl’. This is one of the reasons why employers are now using social media platforms to identify job applicants. 

Well, many businesses are using social media platforms to vet potential hires, and you can imagine how a carelessly chosen post could come back to haunt you.

So if you’re one of those wondering why you’re not getting hired, check your posts. It could be that you’re posting content that reflects negatively about the kind of person you are.

It’s clear that social media is affecting Job Applicant’s odds during the hiring process.

In this blog, we will talk about how employers use social media for job applicant screening. We’ll also touch on the potential risk to businesses via RFCA regulations by doing this.


The Rise of Social Media Background Checking

Social media is now one of the strategies used by employers to check the backgrounds of applicants because of its widespread availability and ease of use. No one can say that checking information on social media is unlawful. But if the information you took violates RFCA’s regulation, it may result in a penalty or a lawsuit against you.


Discrimination and disparate impact discrimination are the most obvious legal ramifications of social media use. 


  1. Discrimination: When you look at a candidate’s social media profile, you now have access to information that you might not have had before or during a traditional interview, such as protected class information (any post that can identify your religion, ethnicity, and race). This action can make it seem like you are biased and puts you at risk of breaking anti-discrimination laws during the hiring process. 
  2. Disparate impact discrimination happens when an employer only uses one social media site to recruit or screen applicants. This could hurt people who don’t have access to social media, and it could mean that certain groups aren’t considered.

Using a 3rd Party for Social Media Screening Reports

Many sources of information can be used in employment background checks, including credit reports, employment and salary histories, criminal records, and, these days, even social media. 


When making hiring decisions, the rules are the same regardless of the information in the report. Companies that provide credit reports to employers and the employers who use those reports must all comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.


Even agencies that provide applicants’ social media reports need to comply with the FCRA. For example, when your FCRA partner does a sterling background check, all important reports that are compiled are made sure to comply with RFCA regulations to avoid consumer information violations. 


Hiring a 3rd party to do social media screening has a lot of benefits because they have extensive knowledge of FCRA regulations. This helps you avoid being in violation of any of the FCRA regulations. 

FCRA-Compliant 3rd Party Social Media Screening

The FCRA makes sure that information about candidates is correct and kept confidential. People share a lot of things on social media, like their religious or political beliefs, that could lead to bias in the hiring process. Even things like finding out if an applicant is married or how old they are can be against the FCRA. 


When you can, it’s best to have an FCRA-compliant partner do the social media screening for you. A third-party screener will only give you the information you need. For employers to make an informed hiring decision, they should use FCRA-compliant information.

Considerations in Standard Social Media Screening

As an employer, there is no problem if you use social media to screen someone who has applied to you for a job. Because of social media, you can see what their behavior is before the interview process happens. 


For example, you can see if they post hate speech, explicit content, drugs, threatening content, or all things considered red flags for people. You can use that kind of information to not hire them and this action will not be looked at as a violation of the FCRA. 


You can make more informed decisions about who to hire for your company with the help of this data. It is because when they behave like that, they can damage the work environment, harm the people they work with, and all in all, damage the company’s productivity and reputation.


Background checks utilizing social media should always conceal sensitive information, such as race, age, etc., so as not to influence hiring decisions. To stay in line with the FCRA, companies must use the same social media screening rules for all candidates and remove any protected information.


In order to understand their FCRA obligations, employers should consider these points when using an internet or social media-based background screening service to identify potential hires or check out applicants’ backgrounds:

  • Social media data providers should demonstrate understanding and compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • Data collectors and other providers who claim to be exempt from FCRA or that the data provided does not constitute a background verification under FCRA should be viewed with the greatest skepticism. 
  • Employers must clearly understand their internal practices and be prepared to comply with the FCRA’s complicated notice requirements before accepting or considering social media-based information from a third party.

What You Need to Look For in Your FCRA Partner

Using a background check service is the only way to find a good employee or a responsible tenant. But, it’s not enough to just use any service. Many different kinds of companies do this kind of work. Make sure your screening process has the following parts if you want it to be worth the money you pay:

  • Credibility
  • Accuracy
  • Timely
  • Comprehensive
  • Quality Customer Service

Final Thoughts

It is very simple to check applicants’ personal information in today’s world due to the ease of access provided by social media platforms. This makes it possible for discrimination to occur, which in turn, impacts hiring decisions. 


As an employer, you must therefore be thorough in the information you gather to avoid being penalized for not complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. To achieve this, you should hire agencies with adequate confidence and knowledge regarding the entirety of the FCRA regulation.