Legal Risk in South Africa: Checking out Social Networking Profiles of Job Applicants

There came a time where employers used the internet, particularly social media networking to find job applicants, screen who’s qualified and who’s not and to even announce more job openings that are and will be available in the next few days and weeks to come. Some people think that this is a positive thing, since there is no need for applicants to find one job after another, travel from one city to another because the internet has almost everything that you need.

Although there are a lot of benefits, always remember that there have been numerous reports related to the Legal risk in Africa related to the security of job applicants through their social networking profiles.

What is it about the legal risk in Africa and even though there are advantages, what are the harmful effects that the internet can do to job applicants and even employers out there? An estimated 77% of job employers have stated that they are using these social networking websites to find, screen and evaluate job candidates, and these people are unaware of the possible risks that are associated with it.

These risks are not just applicable in South Africa, but these risks are also found in any other country that have been using social networking profiles in assessing a person’s capability to handle the job. Discrimination in work is not tolerated, while unfortunately, there are still employers who consider the marital status, age and even the race of the person even prior to making a decision whether that applicant is capable of doing the job or not. In addition to which, there are many legal risks involved according to most private investigators and lawyers since they have mentioned that employers will get into trouble by doing so.

This is a legal risk in South Africa and even in other countries from different parts of the globe. Discrimination is one of the most common problems that people are experiencing right now, and to be honest, through social networking profiles, they can easily see an applicant’s ethnicity or even marital status. This is why it is never ideal to hire and evaluate someone through their networking profile. On the other hand, employers can also be at risk because there are some job candidates who have been posting false information on their social networking profile.

One of the best ways to avoid the legal risk in Africa is by ensuring that you go through the standard process of hiring individuals. This means that you do not mainly rely on their social networking profile, but instead depend on what they can do, their talents, qualifications and skills to offer to the company. The same thing works for job candidates.

As much as possible, avoid giving out access to your social networking profile, especially if it is related to applying for a job. This way, you can avoid the potential dangers and risks associated with it, and at the same time, this gives you the opportunity for employers to see what your “real” skills are, and not just judge someone’s credibility because your social networking profile says so.


09 August 2012