Attorney and safe hiring expert Lester Rosen, President of accredited background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), will present an education session titled ‘Caution Advised! The Use of Social Networking Sites, Search Engines and Web 2.0 to Screen Applicants’ for the 2011 ASIS International 57th Annual Seminar and Exhibits at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 from 1:45 PM to 3:00 PM (EST). To register for the event, visit

“Employers and recruiters have discovered a treasure trove of information on potential job applicants by using social networking sites such as Facebook and search engines like Google,” says Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ the first comprehensive guide to employment screening background checks. “However, the unrestricted use of Web 2.0 could well land an employer, human resources professional, or recruiter in hot water since just because information is online does not mean that data is risk free or even true.”

The educational session will examine the pros and cons of employers utilizing online tools such as social networking sites and search engines for screening, including what is available online, discrimination issues, the use of legal off-duty conduct, privacy, accuracy and authenticity. Through case studies, legal decisions and reviewing web sites, participants will see visually how these websites work, what they may find, potential legal landmines and practical risks involved, and strategies for getting what information they need while minimizing potential complaints for discrimination or invasion of privacy. 

Participants in the session ‘Caution Advised! The Use of Social Networking Sites, Search Engines and Web 2.0 to Screen Applicants’ will also:

  • Learn how to navigate through legal and practical pitfalls and roadblocks when using search engines or social networking sites to screen applicants.
  • Uncover how Web 2.0 is used fraudulently for fake degrees and phony references.
  • Learn why employers, human resources, and recruiters use search engines and social network sites to screen candidates.
  • Review what sites are available and what information may be found.
  • Learn what the risks are in using these sites and if everything on the web is ‘fair game’ since privacy is waived once someone places something on the Internet.
  • Uncover best practices for employers, HR, recruiters, and job applicants.

As reported in the ESR News blog, ‘SHRM Survey Finds Employers Wary of Using Social Networking Websites and Online Search Engines to Screen Job Candidates,’ a recent survey from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) – ‘SHRM Survey Findings: The Use of Social Networking Websites and Online Search Engines in Screening Job Candidates’ – found that, contrary to popular belief, only 26 percent of organizations indicated they used online search engines such as Google to screen job candidates during the hiring process while 18 percent used social networking websites like Facebook for that purpose.

According to the SHRM survey, the reasons why some organizations did not use social networking websites to screen job candidates included the following:

  • 66 percent indicated they did not used social networking websites due to concerns about the legal risks/discovering information about protected characteristics such as age, race, gender, and religious affiliation.
  • 48 percent did not use these sites because they could not verify with confidence the information from the social networking website pages of job candidates, an increase from 43 percent in 2008.
  • 45 percent indicated that the information found on the social networking sites may not be relevant to a job candidate’s work-related potential or performance, also an increase from 36 percent in 2008.

“Employers are learning that the bottom line when using the Internet to background check job candidates is to proceed with caution,” warns Rosen, who founded Employment Screening Resources (ESR) in California in 1997 to promote safe workplaces for both employers and employees. ESR is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

Rosen is a frequent presenter nationwide on employment screening and safe hiring issues as part of the ‘ESR Speaks’ program at He also was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the NAPBS, a non-profit trade organization for the background screening industry and served as the first co-chairman.

Session 3219 ‘Caution Advised! The Use of Social Networking Sites, Search Engines and Web 2.0 to Screen Applicants’ will be held in Room W304E on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 from 1:45 PM to 3:00 PM (EST) at the Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive, in Orlando, Florida. The 2011 ASIS International 57th Annual Seminar and Exhibits runs from September 19 to 22, 2011.

To register for the ASIS International 57th Annual Seminar and Exhibits – held by the preeminent organization for security professionals and considered the world’s most comprehensive educational and networking event in the security industry – visit

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 President Lester Rosen. ESR streamlines the screening process and reduces administrative overhead though its proprietary technology solutions.  ESR is one of a select few firms accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). 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


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