6 Advantages of Social Media Employment Screening

Any candidate who’s recently completed a new job application may have been asked, “Can employers check your social media?”

The answer is, yes, they can - employer social media checks are a legitimate type of check which nowadays often forms a vital part of an organisation’s pre-employment background screening processes

Social media searches have become increasingly important for HR professionals to incorporate into their recruitment, selection and onboarding processes. This guide explains why it’s crucial and beneficial for companies to check the social media profiles of prospective employees.

Social Media Checks for Businesses

A social media screening is when employers review a prospective candidate’s social media activity during the hiring process.

Screening candidates’ social media profiles can reveal information that’s often overlooked during other pre-employment screening checks. 

For example, a criminal record check may confirm a candidate has a clean criminal record, but not state that they may be instigating violence or aggressive behaviour on social media sites. While an education verification or employment history check can show a candidate with legitimate qualifications and no history of termination, these checks wouldn’t unveil the extent of their activities in their personal life.

Candidate suitability is everything to organisations, and social media checks can go a long way in solidifying a person as a good fit professionally and personally.

6 Advantages of Social Media Screening

You learn more about your candidates.

When people post on social media, they often let their guard down and show their true colours. While interviews are the prime opportunity to find out about your candidates, they’re often quite performative, as applicants are trying hard to make a strong first impression. An online profile can tell you much more about what a person is actually like. 

You can spot potential red flags.

Even if a candidate is friendly and impressive during the interview, you don’t know whether they badmouth their previous employer on their online activity. With a social media check, you can spot these significant issues, giving you a far greater insight into their true characters. Someone who makes derogatory comments about their employer on their LinkedIn profile isn’t exactly a good ambassador for your company.

You’ll ensure they’re a good fit for your organisation.

Remember, you’re not just looking for someone with good skills and experience for the role. You’re also looking for someone who’s a natural fit for your organisation. Vetting social media accounts lets you assess how they are outside of work and make a good judgement call.

You can confirm or unveil their skills.

An employer social media background check can also determine how skilled a candidate is. Many organisations are actively recruiting through social media, so many candidates make a good habit of showing off their portfolio and experience on their profiles.

You could uncover potentially violent, racist or sexist rhetoric.

If you see an applicant spouting racist, sexist or other problematic content on their social media accounts, you should probably factor these posts into your hiring decision. Several people have come under scrutiny for making controversial statements publicly on social media, with employing companies often tasked with taking affirmative action. Ideally, you’ll want to save yourself the trouble and ensure you’re hiring someone with no risk of doing something similar.

It saves employers time and money.

Recruitment is a time-consuming process for any organisation, as well as the candidate. Social media profiles can offer a glimpse into their personality, opinions, perspectives and so on. While in the UK, employers have to uphold a person’s right to freedom of expression and mutual respect, a line has to be drawn for inappropriate or discriminatory activity. Doing this pre-hire as opposed to post-hire can save you considerable time, effort and money.

Handling Background Checks in the Age of Social Media

These are some of the reasons you should consider conducting social media checks. Regardless of your stance on their effectiveness, social media searches cannot replace traditional and trusted background checks. 

Using employer reference checks, education verification, criminal record checks, and other types of background screening remain vital even if you decide to adopt a social media screening procedure.

If you decide to vet future prospective candidates’ social media accounts, it’s a good idea to have a third party background check agency conduct the checks. They can prepare a report of relevant information about a candidate, acting as a filter between the candidate and a hiring manager, removing any risk of bias.

Quote from a Background Check Agency

If you’d like to consider adopting social media reference checking as part of your background screening process, consider Eurocom CI. We can provide a solution that incorporates all your required and necessary checks through a single system, saving you time and effort.