Social media are powerful communications tools that have a significant impact on organizational
and professional reputations. The University of Arkansas (“University”) has established
the following guidelines are used to clarify how best to enhance and protect the University
when participating in social media while conducting a search or hiring to fill a position.
As a general matter, the same policies and expectations that apply to a person’s interactions
or traditional communications also apply to her or his interactions with the online
The guidelines are subject to all other applicable policies of the University of Arkansas.
The guidelines apply to all employees, units, and affiliates of the University who
are involved in conducting a search or hiring to fill a position.
“Social Media” includes websites and applications that enable users to create and
share content or to participate in social networking. Examples include, but are not
limited to: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Flikr, SnapChat, Yik
Yak, iTunes U, and Google+.
Use of Social Media Sites
Hiring managers or search committee members shall not view the social media profiles
of actual or potential employment applicants for the purpose of becoming aware of
protected information including, but not limited to, applicants’ age, race, gender,
disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation, genetic information, and religion.
Never ask for an applicant’s social media usernames or passwords. Hiring managers
or search committee members shall not view any applicant’s social media materials
that are not available to the general public. Applicants shall not be asked to change
their privacy settings during the hiring process or to “add” University faculty/staff
to their social media contacts as part of the hiring process.
Social media may be used to fact-check any statement made by an applicant.
During the hiring process, hiring managers or search committee members may review
publicly available social media pages of candidates in order to discern information
for the purpose of further vetting applicants. Generally, hiring managers or search
committees may consider information that is materially inconsistent with responsible
professional conduct or that might be materially harmful to the educational mission
or reputation of the University. Examples of what hiring managers or search committees
may consider include, but are not limited to, the following:
Whether social media illustrates that the candidate has lied on his or her job application
Whether the candidate is, or was previously, clearly engaged in illegal activity
Whether the candidate has a history of violent behavior
Whether the candidate engages in the use of illegal drugs
Whether the candidate exhibits a specific bias against a protected class of people
(e.g. Facebook page of candidate contains posts by candidate that exhibit clear bias
against a certain ethnic or religious group)
Whether the candidate exhibits behavior that is inconsistent with the responsibilities
of the position (e.g., Facebook page of candidate for faculty position that shows
recent pictures of candidate doing keg stands at a student party or smoking marijuana
with students would demonstrate a lack of discretion in interactions with college
The age of any material posted online (e.g., material posted many years ago, prior
to a successful professional record, may be less relevant to the consideration of
As a best practice, hiring managers or search committees are encouraged to use a consistent
approach with regard to use of social media information in the course of the search
process and to maintain screenshots or a similar written record of material which
factors significantly into a decision whether to interview or hire an individual.