Safe Hiring Expert Lester Rosen Warns Employers and Recruiters about Using Internet to Background Check Job Applicants

Attorney at Law and safe hiring expert Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), will present an audio conference titled ‘Web 2.0 Caution! The Legal Line You Walk When Using Social Media and Search Engines to Recruit and Screen Applicants’ on October 26, 2011 from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern Time. For more information or to sign up, visit the Workplace Training Center website at:

“Employers and recruiters have discovered how to unearth a smorgasbord of information on potential job applicants simply by looking them up on social networking sites and search engines,” says Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ the first comprehensive guide to employment screening. “But is unrestricted use of Web 2.0 by employers, HR professionals and recruiters entirely legal? Are the substantial risks that they take when they perform internet searches on their candidates worth the information they will find?”

During the one hour and 30 minute session, Rosen will examine the pros and cons of utilizing online data, including discrimination issues, use of legal off-duty conduct, privacy, accuracy, and authenticity. Through case studies, legal decisions, and web site reviews, Rosen will show employers and recruiters how these sites work, what they may find, and the potential legal landmines and practical risks involved. Rosen will also focus on strategies for minimizing complaints about discrimination or invasion of privacy.

Learning objectives for the audio conference ‘Web 2.0 Caution! The Legal Line You Walk When Using Social Media and Search Engines to Recruit and Screen Applicants’ include:

  • What employers, human resources, and recruiters are looking for when they use search engines and social network sites to screen candidates.
  • What sites are available, what you may find, and what are the risks of using these sites?
  • Isn’t everything on the web fair game, since privacy is waived once someone places something on the Internet?
  • How do discrimination laws and rules concerning off-duty conduct apply?
  • How to uncover best practices for employers, HR, recruiters and job applicants.
  • How to spot and deal with phony degrees and references from new online services.

Rosen is a frequent presenter nationwide on employment screening as part of the ‘ESR Speaks’ program at: In 1997, he founded Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a San Francisco Bay area firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). Rosen was also the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the NAPBS, a professional trade organization for the screening industry, and served as the first co-chairman.

As reported earlier on the ESR News blog ‘White Paper Helps Employers and Recruiters Manage Risks of Using Internet for Employment Screening Background Checks,’ ESR has released a white paper – ‘Managing the Risks of Using the Internet for Employment Screening Background Checks’ – that shows the risks employers and recruiters face using Internet search engines and social network sites for employment screening. The complimentary ESR white paper is available at:

According to the white paper, when using the Internet to screen job applicants, employers and recruiters can encounter the following legal risks and potential landmines.

  • Too Much Information (TMI) – Discrimination Allegations.
  • Too Little Information (TLI).
  • Credibility, Accuracy, and Authenticity Issues.
  • “Computer Twins” & “Cyber-slamming.”
  • Privacy Issues.
  • Legal Off-Duty Conduct.
  • What is “Fair Game” on the Internet?
  • Should Background Screening Firms Conduct Internet Background Checks?

A 2011 survey from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) cited in the white paper shows that only roughly one-quarter (26 percent) of organizations used online search engines to screen job candidates while even fewer organizations (18 percent) used social networking sites during the hiring process. The survey found 64 percent of organizations had never used, or no longer use, search engines to screen job candidates while 71 percent had never used, or no longer use, social networking websites.

“No discussion on employment screening background checks these days is complete without an analysis of how the Internet is used for uncovering information about job candidates,” explains Rosen. “However, while employers and recruiters have discovered a treasure trove of information on job applicants by using social networking sites and search engines, the unrestricted use of Web 2.0 can land them in hot water since just because certain information is online does not mean that it is risk free or even true.”

The ESR white paper also offers steps for employers to take when considering using search engines or social network sites for screening that include: developing a written policy and procedures for social media searches; writing job descriptions contain the essential knowledge, skills, and ability required for the position, waiting for a conditional job offer and consent from the job applicant to perform a social media search, and using a person in-house not connected to hiring decisions to review data on social media sites.

Rosen says the bottom line when using the Internet for employment screening is to proceed with caution. For  information about the audio conference with Lester Rosen, visit: The complimentary white paper from ESR is available at:  To learn more about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at: or call Toll Free 888.999.4474.

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by ESR founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR streamlines the screening process and reduces administrative overhead though its proprietary technology solutions.  ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®), a distinction held by less than two percent of all screening firms. This important recognition was achieved by successfully passing a third party audit demonstrating compliance with the NAPBS Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program. By choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR, employers know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about ESR, visit