Recruiting | 6Min Read

Social Media Background Checks: Screening Beyond the Resume

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What Have We Covered?

For today’s Gen Z generation, being smart recruiters is not enough.

You have to be a quick-witted and savvy recruiter.

But how can you be one? 

By going beyond the resume when it comes to candidate screening.

Like trying to find the things about candidates that are not shown on those polished resumes.

How?

Simple, by using Social Media!

Yes!

Social media is where people share their every moment, and that’s why it is a crucial platform to learn more about a person's background.

In today's digital age, It's not just about what's on the resume anymore. It's about painting a complete picture of who your candidates really are.

A person's online presence can reveal a lot about their values, behaviour, and even potential red flags.

It's about checking culture fit in this digital age.

But here are the questions that strike your mind: Is it ethical? Is it fair? And how much is too much when it comes to digging into someone's virtual life?

But let's not debate that. 

It's not just about stalking your next potential hire. It's about understanding the person behind the profile, work ethic, communication style, and even company culture fit and finding the right fit for your team.

So, activate your detective mind and let’s explore this blog about Social Media Background Checks. To screen your candidate beyond resumes.

Let’s scroll more and learn more.

What is a Social Media Background Check? 

A pre-employment 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 hiring 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 Organisations Use Social Media Background Checks?

Global Social Media Users Statistic

When you acquire talent, 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. 

Following are the types of problematic content organisations check while conducting social media screening. 

  •  Illegal substances  

  • Offensive content

  • Sexist content

  • Content that promotes violence 

  •  Racist content 

  • Discriminatory content or drugs

  • Content that supports or indicates criminal behaviour 

Moreover, even the general public is aware of the importance of social media background checks. 

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. 

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 the right 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.

Social Media Background Checks for Eligible Candidates 

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 who 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 will reduce the cost of a bad hire. Also, It is better to expand your hiring budget a little than pay bad hire costs. 

 Social Media Background Checks are vital to avoid bad hiring 

Top 2 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 hiring 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 for compliance violations, review large batches of social media content quickly, and searches based on the employer’s criteria. So you should not worry and focus on more important tasks of your expertise.

2. Inform the Candidates about the Background Checks & 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 onboard candidates or reject them if otherwise.

To avoid legal consequences, get 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 Candidate’s Social Media Profile for Background 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 

For every organisation, company culture is essential. 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 example, 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 Check 

Often, candidates with more years of experience cannot add all the details to their resumes. They cannot discuss every detail in their interviews because of the limited time they have. By running social media background checks, you can find out any additional skills that the candidates possess. 

For instance, 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.

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Final Thought on Social Media Background Check 

It is a technologically advanced era, and to find the best candidates, 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.

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