Social media monitoring offers insights into applicants that job interviews cannot. However, this information can also expose the company to legal liability.
For example, you could violate EEOC guidelines if a candidate posts about their religious beliefs or political affiliation on their social media page and rejects them. The gold standard for hiring is full EEOC compliance.
Conducting social media background checks before hiring can help employers avoid many potential legal problems. However, it must be performed by a professional service well-versed in legal compliance. This includes a robust, automated search process that uses intelligent search technologies to locate information that may be hidden or obscured online, such as content posted under an alias or nickname.
It also examines the candidate’s public perception, checking for any political posts or affiliations (since discrimination against a protected class, such as race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, is prohibited). Furthermore, it assesses any other unprofessional online behavior, such as inappropriate comments about previous or current employers, colleagues, or clients.
When done correctly, social media screening is entirely legal. The key is to ensure that each candidate or employee has obtained the appropriate written consent before the check. This includes a disclosure statement clearly outlining what will be searched and retrieved. In addition, a comprehensive report of the results should be provided to each candidate or employee.
Typical background checks don’t assess social media activity, but candidates who bad-mouth their employers on Facebook, post racy photos or tweet offensively can raise red flags. Social media background checks can help identify these problems and enable employers to reconsider hiring an unsuitable candidate.
The information companies find on social media can also reveal additional professional skills not listed on resumes or discussed during interviews. For example, a candidate may have a blog that showcases their writing abilities. Moreover, a social media background check can discover this and help the company make a more informed hiring decision.
A professional background check service will use automated software to sift through public social media accounts and search for keywords that indicate a potential match to an individual’s profile. This process helps to prevent errors caused by human review. For example, if a person has multiple social media profiles with different names and photos, it can be challenging to determine which profiles belong to an applicant. The screening process also aims to avoid discrimination based on protected characteristics such as age, gender, race, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.
Better Hiring Decisions
There’s no denying that social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok provide employers with an honest and direct window into candidates’ lives beyond what can be gleaned from a resume. While some may argue that examining a candidate’s social media profiles in the hiring process is an invasion of privacy, it can also be an illuminating tool for companies that can help identify and hire the best talent.
A professional social media background check will verify the candidate’s public information and search their online footprint for specific indicators of poor judgment or misconduct. This includes obscene content, affiliation with criminal groups and organizations, participation in illegal activities, and evidence of violence or threats.
Using information you cannot independently verify to make a hiring decision can lead to accusations of discrimination under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). When done in-house, social media searches can uncover sensitive personal details of protected classes such as age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, and other attributes. This can open your company to lawsuits from job applicants if incorrectly conducted.
Increased Employee Satisfaction
A social media background check gives employers a clear view of candidates’ online activities. It can help identify red flags such as profanity, inappropriate content, alcohol or drug abuse, and even questionable behavior. This information is valuable for a company’s hiring decisions and can help identify potential security issues and reduce employee turnover, which costs money.
A company’s reputation is just as crucial as its employees, so hiring individuals who are an excellent professional and personal fit is essential. A social media background check can reveal more about a candidate than a traditional criminal record check, education verification, or employment history verification can.
While some argue that conducting social media checks is an invasion of privacy, using a trusted service provider can help balance this concern with its benefits. A qualified service provider will have systems allowing automated and documentable searches while carefully adhering to all applicable laws and regulations. This helps to reduce the risk of discrimination and ensure that all information is collected fairly.
Improved Customer Service
With new technology and changing workplaces, ensuring that your company’s hiring practices are up to date is essential. A social media background check can reveal various information about your potential employee, including their online persona and behavior.
A check can validate information candidates share, helping you gauge more intangible qualities such as trustworthiness. Furthermore, it can help you avoid hiring individuals who might breach your internal cybersecurity or damage the company’s reputation through unprofessional behavior on social media.
Ultimately, incorporating social media background checks into your pre-employment screening can save you time, money, and resources by identifying red flags early on. However, it is vital to understand that the review must be conducted fairly and legally to comply with laws protecting protected classes such as race, sex, and religion. A background check service uses a robust combination of technology and three layers of expert human analysis to identify candidate content and accurately ensure compliance with applicable law. To learn more, contact us. The cost of a bad hire can far exceed the initial investment in training, recruitment, and onboarding.