Human resource professionals seldom consider a job candidate's social media activity during final hiring stages, according to a recent study from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Sixty-six percent of respondents say they do not use social media to screen job seekers because of legal risks and the possibility of discovering protected characteristics, such as age, race, gender and religious affiliation, though 48 percent of respondents say they cannot confidently verify this information. Of the respondents, 45 percent also say information posted on these sites may not be relevant to work-related potential or performance.

In 2008, SHRM conducted a similar survey in which 54 percent of respondents revealed concerns regarding legal risks and discovering protected-class characteristics. Forty-three percent of respondents said they could not validate the information found on potential employees' social media sites while 36 percent of respondents said information found from social media may not be relevant job potential or performance.

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