Are nosy employers breaking the law?

Are nosy employers breaking the law?

Prepping prior to interviewing is important – identifying something unique on a potential employees’ CV will allow you to garner information that could boost their chances, it puts them at ease and displays interest.

However, new research from totaljobs has found that three-quarters of employers admit to checking their candidate’s social media as part of ‘interview preparation’ and 70% spend less than an hour preparing for an interview.

Just 36% of candidates expect their social media to be screened, although a recent Yougov study found that one in five employers have rejected a candidate because of their online posts. However, the proposed Data Protection Bill will give candidates the right to request that social media companies delete personal information held about them, potentially improving their chances of landing a desired role.

Potential changes will force internet companies – social media sites amongst them – to be more responsible about how they collect and utilise data, including photos and status posts. If they don’t, they risk a £17million fine. In addition, employers and recruiters that use Facebook, Twitter and other social media to check on potential job candidates could be breaking European law in future - and could also face a hefty fine, equating to 4% of global turnover.

An EU data protection working party has ruled that employers should require ‘legal grounds’ before snooping. The recommendations are non-binding, but could influence forthcoming changes to data protection laws – BBC News reports.

The guidelines from the Article 29 working party suggest that any data collected from an internet search of potential candidates must be necessary and relevant to the performance of the job. The party recommends that these guidelines form part of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which are due to come into force in May 2018.

Furthermore, Keely Rushmore, a Senior Associate at SA Law, explained to City AM that employers that make decisions based on an applicant’s social media presence are potentially breaking the law. He said: “It’s tempting to think that the candidate might never find out, but if the documentation obtained and generated during the recruitment process doesn’t tally with the decision made, then this can lead to the candidate asking awkward questions, and potentially a claim.

“Further, recording or using information about candidates from websites will fall under the data protection legislation, and it’s crucial to ensure that you don’t fall foul of its requirements.”

To find out more about how to prepare for incoming GDPR legislation, click here.

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