Background Verification Basics, Employee Corner, HR Corner, HR Resources

Social Intelligence and Social Media Background Checks – All You Need to Know

Research by CareerBuilder revealed that 70% of employers now use social media background checks to hire employees. It is a common practice of companies to use social intelligence and social media for screening employees. In many cases, organizations make hiring decisions purely based on information gathered from candidates’ social media accounts.

What is social media background check?

Social media background checks involve employers searching and screening the social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and more. Employers conduct social intelligence checks for new candidates or current employees. Social intelligence social media background checks conducted by employers on their employees.

What are the advantages of social media search background check?

Background verification is a necessity in today’s job market. With cut-throat competition and chock-full of options of candidates, it is crucial for organizations to thoroughly vet candidates before hiring as well as continue monitoring employee activities once hired. That’s where social media checks into the picture. These are its advantages:

Learn more about candidates: Social media checks help employers to learn more about a candidate, over and above the information shared by them in the CV. It is easy for candidates to lie on CVs or behave/act in a certain way during face-to-face interviews. But the social media activity of a person cannot lie and provides a much deeper insight into the candidate’s personality and behaviour.

Faster and inexpensive: Unlike other kinds of background checks where companies have to depend on responses from external resources, social media checks can be conducted fast and not costly. 

Can eliminate undesired candidates right away: Social media checks can provide both negative and positive information about the candidate. Employers can use this information to create first impressions and make their first decisions right away instead of spending more time in interviewing them.

Gather professional reference info: Certain social media platforms such as LinkedIn offer features such as endorsements and testimonials from professional contacts. These can be reviewed by employers in order to assess the candidate.

Now that we’ve learnt a bit about the advantages of social media background screening, let’s understand what kinds of checks can be performed and what kind of information can be gathered in this process.

what is social media and social intelligence check

Types of social media background checks

Past behavior on social media platforms: check past posts of candidates’ for the type and quality of posts. Have they posted anything negative that might have an adverse effect on your business, product or service?

Evaluate candidate personality: it is essential for organizations to assess candidates’ personalities. Social media accounts could give a true peek into an individual’s personality. It can also help HR teams to build teams that demonstrate diversity of personalities.

Monitor current employees: 43% of employers use social media to keep a check on the activities of their current employees. 

Research by CareerBuilder revealed five top kinds of information that are a turn-off to employers:

Source: GoogEgg

However, social media screening is easier said than done. There are a lot of factors that organizations must consider before diving into social media screening. Here are key steps:

  1. Define how social intelligence fits into your background verification process. If you decide to include social screening, structure it into your screening process; add a policy specific to how you will be using social media in your background verification process.
  2. Create a checklist to follow in your social media screening. The checklist could include points such as type of photographs, type of content, type of comments, communication and language, among others. Keeping checks standard across different people will bring consistency to your process.
  3. Make note of all the problems and run them through decision makers. It is easy for personal bias to sneak in while conducting social media background checks. Hence, it is best to gather all the information – positive and negative – and run it through decision makers for their opinion.
  4. Follow legal guidelines. It is utmost important to keep the process of social media background screening legal and ethical. Find out the rules and regulations for social screening that are laid out by legal authorities and only then begin the process. This will ensure your organization keeps liabilities away.

Done right, social media background checks can be an effective way to hire candidates and ensure your current candidates are your organization’s best representatives in the social world. It’s all about getting it right, first time, every time.