Europe has a message for employers: Think twice before you check the social media profiles of job applicants.
European officials have issued new guidelines that warn bosses about the legal hazards of scrolling through the social media profiles of potential hires.
The rules require employers to issue a disclaimer before they check applicants' online accounts, including Facebook (FB, Tech30), Instagram, Snapchat (SNAP), Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) and LinkedIn.
If applicants don't see the warning, the company could be in breach of European Union data protection rules.
Employers are also barred from compiling social media data as part of the hiring process unless it is "necessary and relevant" for a particular job.
The guidelines are part of a lengthy document clarifying data protection laws that apply to employers across 28 EU countries.
The rules may require companies to change how they recruit.
Surveys suggest that employers are increasingly using social media to vet job candidates. In the U.S., 70% of employers use social media as part of the screening process, according to a recent survey of more than 2,300 hiring managers and HR professionals by CareerBuilder.
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