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Social Media Screening of Applicants.

Friday, 08 March 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Livingstone Sagonda
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It’s no surprise that employers have added social media to applicant screening.

Even Government, according to a recent advisory note issued by one of their departments, has climbed onto this particular bandwagon.

Anyone, including recruitment agencies who use social media to screen applicants must stay within the law.


Candidate privacy

Information collected from any candidate’s social media profile (public or private) will be subject to the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPI).

POPI is expected to be fully operational in the near future.


To comply with POPI you should:

  • Inform the candidate that personal information is being collected from social media;
  • Get the candidate to sign consent for the processing of such information;

Unfair discrimination

What you need to avoid is the possibility that a disgruntled applicant that you declined, based on something in their social media profile, claims unfair discrimination under the Employment Equity Act.  

That Act prohibits unfair discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, birth or any other arbitrary ground.

So please exercise caution when relying on information gleaned from social media profiles.


Focus on Inherent Job Requirements

While you should be cautious, remember that fair discrimination is permitted. So you could regret a candidate for reasons that are related to the inherent requirements of the job – even if that information has been collected from social media.


In summary

Social media checks can provide useful information and the trend is certainly towards including such checks in candidate screening. However, make sure you have the candidate’s consent and that, regardless of the reason/s for declining, your discrimination is based on inherent job requirements. 


APSO Communications.




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