A new hire always brings along security risks for your organisation. For this purpose, background checks are conducted to ensure that you are hiring the right candidates with no criminal record or illegal and unethical activities under the belt of your potential employees. But it is 2023, and the world breathes technology.
There is anyone around you not having access to the internet. Hence, a social media background check is also vital. This is why nearly half of the world, approximately 58.4% of people, use social media and spend almost 2 hours and 27 mins on social apps daily. These social media apps include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Employers today take this as an opportunity to run background checks on their candidates through their social media content.
In this blog, you will learn everything regarding social media background checks so you can use them for your organisation too.
What is a Social Media Background Check?
As an employer, you sure know what a background check is. A background check determines if a candidate has a clean history of any illegal acts or criminal records or not. Traditionally, a background check is carried out by contacting the employee references or through their ex-employers. But, there is more than you can discover from their social media apps than from any of their references.
Obviously, why would the candidates provide you with the contact details of their bosses who will not praise them when you contact them to ask questions? To avoid unwanted bias, you need to carry out social media background checks for confirmation. In a social media background check, you skim through the candidate’s profile, look for the type of content they share or the groups they have joined, etc. You also check their comments on posts to identify if they have a bullying nature or any history of online harassment.
You can consider your social media background check for employment as stalking for hiring. You get to learn more about the potential candidate by diving deeper into their social media.
Why do Organizations use Social Media Background Checks?
When you hire a candidate, they represent your organisation to the outside world. The people who know them judge their workplaces through their characters. For instance, if a person is a misogynist, then people who know him might think that the organisation he works for maybe discriminate against their female staff. How else could a misogynist candidate survive in a workplace if it does not have equal employment opportunities? Organisations nowadays use social media background checks to protect the reputation of their companies. They do not want employees with bad character.
Moreover, even the general public is aware of the importance of social media background checks. I recently discovered some comment screenshots of an employee working in a reputable company. The comments were inappropriate and fell under the category of sexual harassment.
The majority of the people commented that the person should be reported to their organisation so they could take strict action. If you look from one perspective, the employee was on his own on the social media platform. But, from the other perspective, he was a harasser, and if his organisation still kept him, it would have determined how much importance is given to workplace harassment issues in that organisation.
People on social media have ethical responsibilities, and you should hire candidates who are aware of their responsibilities and carry them well. This is why organisations carry social media background checks to prevent their brand image exploitation.
Candidates Eligible for Social Media Background Checks
To be on the safe end, employers should carry social media background checks on all of their shortlisted candidates who they think might be fit for the job. It needs to be carried out after offering the job to the candidates, which would be contingent on their social media background checks. However, the special focus needs to be on the candidates that will have public dealings and high use of social media in their jobs.
Examples of candidates eligible for social media background checks include social media managers, HR managers, sales representatives, etc. No matter how restricted your time and budget are, your social media background is crucial, and you need to spend on it no matter what. It is better to expand your hiring budget a little than pay bad hire costs that are up to 30% of your employee's first year’s earnings.
Requirements for a Social Media Background Check
To carry out an accurate social media background check, there are a few requirements you must comply with.
1. Outsource to a Third-Party
As an employer, you must outsource this task to a third party to avoid biased decisions from your end. A third party can bring you all the necessary information that you require by using software incorporating artificial intelligence. The AI-powered tools locate your candidates on all social media platforms and look out for any indecent activities or inappropriate content sharing. This reduces your burden, too, while you are occupied by hiring decisions and other evaluation processes that follow.
A third party like Accurate are expert in social media background checks and knows their jobs well, so you should not worry and focus on more important tasks of your expertise.
2. Inform the Candidates about the Background Checks and Seek Permission
The only way of carrying out a social media background check on your candidates is by first informing them and seeking their permission. You cannot simply run social media background checks on all the shortlisted candidates. You first need to offer them a job and hand them offer letters. Only after you offer them a job can you seek permission from them to run a background check on them via their social apps.
Once you get their permission, you can then look for the content you think might risk your organisation’s reputation. If you find no content of that sort, you can hire the candidates or reject them if otherwise. To avoid legal consequences, take written consent from your candidates, so they do not sue you for invading their privacy if you reject them.
The Importance of Social Media Background Checks
It is important to learn about your candidates from all the sources you can. This strengthens your hiring decision and helps you avoid doubts. For example, if you hire a person without checking their social media and later find their posts inappropriate, there is little you can do. You cannot fire them later if they are a good employee. But you surely risk your organisational image. So, instead of regretting being late, it is important to carry out social media background checks before hiring.
Use of Candidate’s Social Media Profile Checks
What is the point of collecting candidate information through their social media platforms, and what does that information indicate? Here is what the background information indicates.
1. Work performance
You can create a link with the social media activities of your candidates and their work performance. For instance, if they share content during work hours, it can be guessed that they might be time-wasters at work. You can just gain an idea through assumptions and data that you find. Your assumptions don't need to be accurate, but they always bridge you to some useful information.
2. Cultural Fit
With the type of information that the candidates share, you learn about their interests. This helps you find out if they are a cultural fit for your organisation or not. For instance, if you prioritise decent language in the work setting and your candidate is found abusing different platforms, then they might not fit into your culture.
3. Additional Skills
Often, candidates with more years of experience cannot add all the details on their resumes. Nor can they discuss every detail in their interviews because of limited time. By running social media background checks, you can find out any additional skills that the candidates possess. For example, if graphic designing is their hobby, you can find it out through their posts. Moreover, if your candidates have an interest in writing, you can discover their blog posts or identify their writing skills through the posts they share.
Final Thought on Social Media Background Check
It is a technologically advanced era, and to find the best candidates, and you need to go the extra mile to look for the most appropriate candidates. You should utilise social media resources to learn more about your candidates before you end up making a bad hiring decision.
It can risk your brand image, and with a ruined image, nobody would want to work with you. Any organisation is identified by its workforce. If your workforce is good, you can gain a competitive advantage, and if not, you might end up disappearing in thin air in no time.
Social media background checks have many advantages, especially when the candidates permit you. It becomes a legal process, and you can even reject the candidates if you find them unfit without bearing any legal consequences. As an employer, you should surely hire one of the many social media backgrounds to check companies for the best social media background checks.