3046: Internet Searches Regarding Potential Employees

Members of the administrative team or of a hiring committee (hereinafter “the committee”) may conduct internet research about job applicants by using the following protocol, except that no criminal history record information check shall be made until the ESU has determined that the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications:

  1. The committee may conduct internet searches using candidates’ full names and any aliases. The committee may also search candidates’ full names and any aliases on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networking websites.
  2. All applicants or all finalists must have the same research conducted about them. For example, if the committee conducts a search on Google using the name of one applicant in order to determine whether to include that applicant in the list of finalists, the committee must also conduct an identical search of all applicants’ names.
  3. The committee may not use deception to gain access to applicants’ social networking pages, blogs, or other on-line media and will not require applicants for employment to provide the ESU with their username or password to personal social media accounts.
  4. The committee must take reasonable steps to verify the reliability of the information obtained in the search, including consulting with the applicant for confirmation of accuracy, if appropriate.
  5. The committee will consider the following information to be relevant in making hiring decisions about an applicant based on information obtained through internet research:
    1. Disparaging remarks made about current or former co-workers, supervisors, or employers;
    2. Discriminatory, harassing, or demeaning behavior or comments;
    3. Unprofessional, lewd, or obscene behavior or remarks;
    4. Criminal activity;
    5. Information which indicates the applicant will or will not be able to perform the essential functions of the position sought; and
    6. Information which indicates that the applicant is particularly suited or unsuited to the position sought.
  6. The committee will retain documents to demonstrate its compliance with this policy with other documentation relevant to the job search.

Adopted on: November 10, 2014
Revised on: December 10, 2018
Reviewed on: April 11, 2022