Q. Is it OK for me to consider information about a job applicant that I learn by using Google, viewing Facebook pages and reviewing Twitter feeds?
A. Yes, but use caution. Given the amount of information one can find about another person on the Internet, hiring managers increasingly use social networking and media sites during the hiring and selection process.
From a positive standpoint, the vast amount of information available may be useful and job-related. The Internet makes it easy to learn about an applicant’s educational background, accomplishments and industry recognition.
However, you may find out more about the applicant than you wanted. For example, you may learn about a person’s religious background, race, ethnicity, sex or age. That can open the door to a later discrimination claim if you do not hire the person.
Therefore, it’s important to first balance the benefits of using social networking and media sites with the risks associated with potentially defending a discrimination claim.