In a world where social media is ubiquitous, businesses should ensure their employees and prospective hires are safe and professional online. Some red flags, such as pictures of hard parties or extreme political opinions, are difficult to miss. Other red flags are more subtle and may not hinder a candidate’s ability to do the job but will cause employers to concern.
Protect Your Company’s Reputation
While some may think social media checks feel invasive, businesses must understand how their employees represent them outside the company. If a business has a bad reputation, it can impact its ability to attract customers and investors. Companies should perform social media checks to weed out potential issues that could affect the company’s reputation. For example, if an employee posts inappropriate comments about women online, it could hurt your organization’s image. Social media screening helps ensure that your organization is not unknowingly hiring a known misogynist, which could breach equality laws.
Having an objective third-party partner carry out the social media screening process is vital, as it can help to mitigate unconscious bias and eliminate discrimination during the hiring process. This helps avoid costly lawsuits and ensures a fair and consistent screening process. The best practice is to use a professional background check provider that specializes in social media checking to provide unbiased results.
Identify Potential Issues
There are numerous reasons why companies should perform social media audits. They can help identify potential issues affecting a candidate’s ability to perform well or protect your business’s reputation.
Social media profiles can reveal various information about an individual, including their political affiliations, religious beliefs, etc. These factors can impact hiring decisions and can create a risk of discrimination. Companies must have procedures and processes to ensure these checks are conducted fairly and ethically. Additionally, a social media check can identify an individual’s online activities and involvement in hate speech, threats of violence, and bullying. These activities can harm your company’s brand and lead to a toxic work environment. A survey found that 88 percent of employers and hiring managers would fire employees for posting certain kinds of content on their social media.
Problem employees—difficult staffers, troublemakers, and naysayers—are the bane of every manager’s existence. They can ruin a company’s reputation and bring down morale and productivity. It’s important to identify and deal with them as quickly as possible. Thankfully, social media checks can help employers avoid hiring people with negative behaviors. It’s not just about a person’s public posts—but also their associations, which can indicate how they would fit into the company’s culture.
For example, while a person may have a clean Facebook page and an innocuous TikTok account, they may be members of associations that promote hate, racism, sexism, or other unwelcome ideas. A background check can uncover such information, and this process must be handled with the same care and consideration as other employment screening processes. Conducting a social media check as part of your company’s recruitment processes can be a powerful tool that can benefit your business and help you keep up with the competition.
Identify Potential Issues
The most obvious benefit of social media checks is identifying potential issues. For example, if a candidate posts about their personal opinions that could be offensive to your business or have links to extremist groups, you can use this information to prevent them from joining the company. A professional background check company will use software incorporating artificial intelligence to scan a candidate’s social media accounts and detect risk factors. This helps to eliminate unconscious bias and makes screening more consistent and fair for all candidates. It’s tempting for recruiters to go snooping on applicants’ profiles themselves, but this can be dangerous and could breach compliance or discrimination laws. This is particularly the case for candidates who will have public dealings or whose job involves high levels of social media use. Performing a social media check will also likely take up valuable time, limiting the number of candidates you can select. The best solution is to use a specialist company that can perform checks quickly and accurately.
Identify Problem Employees
Social media background checks can also help companies identify problematic employees early on, making them easier to weed out of the organization. This is important, as problem employees can damage the company’s reputation through their actions and cause many problems for current staff members. It is difficult to spot these individuals in advance, especially if they are good at masking their questionable behavior. For example, the “bad apples” that make trouble for a business may hide their questionable activities on their personal social media accounts by using privacy settings and hiding content from public view.
Conducting social media checks in conjunction with other background checks (criminal records, employment verifications, etc.) is a great way to get a complete picture of an applicant’s current behavior and personality. In addition, utilizing a third-party provider ensures that these searches are being conducted in compliance with legal standards. This protects the employer from liability issues from conducting a social media search. It also gives employers more confidence in their hiring decisions.