Handling a Social Screening Dispute? Here's How It Works

Many HR leaders who have adopted social screening have found that the implementation process is not unlike that of a traditional background check. As with any pre-hire screening procedure, you’ll find success by taking steps to facilitate a smooth and compliant process and working to create a positive candidate experience. But when a candidate disputes the accuracy of your findings, the process of online screening can suddenly feel unfamiliar and tricky even if you’ve handled objections before. How does it work? Who handles it? Let’s break down the process and discuss how it all works.

When do disputes occur?

When you decide not to hire a particular candidate based upon the information you uncovered while screening online content, you send the candidate a “pre-adverse action” notice about your decision and the content that prompted it. A dispute occurs if that candidate contends that there is an inaccuracy in the report. While the process involves new sources of information, such as social media profiles or news articles, it adheres to the same basic regulations as any background check that is conducted per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

How are social screening disputes handled?

If you’re working with a third-party screening provider, you can turn to them to help resolve any disputes. Once the candidate has disputed the findings, your screening company will conduct an investigation to determine if any errors were made during the process. If the original report contains any mistakes, they will create a new, updated report that is sent to both you and the candidate. If they maintain the report is accurate, they’ll leave the ultimate decision in your hands based upon the information that was surfaced.

What do I say if the candidate disputes the content?

While rare, occasionally candidates will dispute a particular piece of content found on their report per their FCRA rights. They may insist that an ill-advised tweet sent years prior was a practical joke, or that a crude photo from last week actually depicted their identical twin. In any case, the process remains the same and your screening company will be there to help. If your screening company has confirmed its original findings, your hiring team can decide if this is a mitigating factor or not based on its relevance to the job and your company’s screening policy.

Independent screening companies can help you wade through various issues that may arise in a dispute—but even when the screening company steps out of the way and leaves the decision in your hands, you can lean on the professional experience you’ve gained. Stay compliant, stay confident, and you’ll be on your way to a successful online screening process.

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Disclaimer: Please note that the materials in this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.