4 Reasons Why Social Media Background Check is Gaining Popularity

Social media background checks allow hiring managers to learn more about their candidates outside the pressure of a job interview. They can see how candidates interact with others online and their general character and demeanor. However, it can be a dangerous tool if not conducted correctly and in compliance with applicable laws.

It Prevents Bad Hires

Employers can learn much about their potential hires by reviewing their online footprints. With social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok being so popular, applicants’ profiles and activity on these platforms can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s beliefs, values, and behavior.

Most companies perform social media checks that can prevent organizations from hiring people who may not be the best fit for the company. For example, a social media background check can flag posts that are discriminatory or intolerant of certain religions or politics. It can also reveal unsafe or illegal behavior that might affect coworkers. For example, if an applicant shares anti-vax content on their public social media accounts, you would be wise to reconsider them as a potential employee. Criminal background checks are important, but they only report on past crimes and don’t consider other indicators of workplace safety or culture. A social media background check can flag these indicators, allowing you to create a safer, more non-toxic work environment for your employees. While some organizations choose to conduct social media searches themselves, you must use a third-party vendor who can ensure your checks are conducted legally and compliantly. A properly conducted social media background check requires an authorization release form that permits the company to perform the search. This removes the employer’s liability and ensures the checks are done fairly for all candidates.

It Prevents Discrimination

A social media background check can reveal red flags such as an affiliation with criminal organizations, groups associated with violence and extremism, or endorsement of illegal activities like drugs, theft, weapons, fraud, etc. These checks can also give insight into candidates’ general outlook, including their political and religious views. Depending on the results, this can help determine whether or not they are a good fit for your company culture.

However, some people may not appreciate their online profiles being used in the hiring process. For example, recruiting on LinkedIn and connecting with candidates is one thing, but it’s another to snoop around their personal Facebook page. This can be viewed as violating their privacy, and they might feel that their online content should remain private and not be used for employment screening.

It’s important to remember that while social media checks can provide valuable insights into a candidate, there are better options than an accurate and thorough background check. Furthermore, it’s essential that a company is fully FCRA compliant when performing these checks and that they are only accessing publicly available information. 

It Prevents Fraud

Social media background checks are an effective way to prevent fraud by assessing the public content of applicants. The screening process identifies red flags such as offensive language, illegal activities, violent or aggressive behavior, and sharing of private information like photos and videos. This can save the company time and money in identifying and hiring the wrong candidates.

This background check also gives companies insight into an applicant’s professional conduct. It can identify whether they’re prone to oversharing or badmouthing their employer, which could damage the business’s reputation. A social media background check can also identify whether an employee is active in controversial groups or political movements that may negatively impact the company’s culture and working practices.

However, it’s important to note that social media background checks should be limited in their scope and used only in conjunction with other vetting tools. Social media background checks should not be used to screen for race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious affiliations, citizenship, or veteran status, as these can lead to discrimination claims.

It Prevents Harassment

Performing social media background checks can be an effective way to identify red flags. These include online bullying or harassment, illegal activity, and offensive content. It can also help employers verify information provided by candidates on their resumes. For example, if a candidate claims to be an expert in a certain field but their social media posts contradict this claim, it could be a sign that they are lying. Social media background checks can reveal these inconsistencies and allow employers to make more informed hiring decisions.

While many companies do their social media searches as part of their hiring process, leaving this task to the professionals is best. A skilled third-party screening provider can use a combination of automation and human oversight to quickly screen candidates while adhering to strict privacy standards and laws. While some people argue that social media checks are an invasion of privacy and shouldn’t be used to make hiring decisions, the truth is that they can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s character and demeanor that cannot be discovered in an interview room. Plus, they can save a company from paying expensive bad hire costs.

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