What Is a Social Media Background Check?

A social media background check, or social media background screening, is when an employer researches the social media profiles of a candidate or an employee.

Why Should an Employer Do a Social Media Background Check of New Hires?

Employers can use social media background checks to ensure the information on the resume of a candidate is accurate. It can also be used as a reference check.

Social media background checks can also provide useful information on the behavior or the values of a person. Employers can use them to make sure they are a good fit in the company and do not participate in unlawful activities or share racist or sexist comments, for example.

What Are the Best Practices When Doing a Social Media Background Check?

The best practices to conduct a social media background check include:

  • Getting the written consent of candidates or employees
  • Disclosing what kind of information will be sought
  • Making sure it is done in accordance with the law
  • Letting the person explain any information retrieved on their social media if necessary
  • Using a third-party agency to ensure neutrality
  • Being clear about the social media policy of the company during the recruitment and interview process
  • Reviewing exclusively public information
  • Documenting any findings to protect the company against discrimination allegations

What Are the Advantages of Social Media Background Checks?

The advantages of social media background check include:

  • Validating the information on the resume of a candidate
  • Making sure their employee do not take part in any illegal or violent activities outside of their professional life
  • Identify potential risks or red flags
  • Learn more about the network of their employees
  • Vetting the culture fit of a candidate
  • Protecting the image of the company

What Are the Drawbacks of Social Media Background Checks?

The drawbacks of social media background check include:

  • Potential discrimination
  • Violation of the personal freedom of the employee
  • Loss of trust from the employee or candidate
  • False information
  • Negative impact on employer brand
  • Loss of time

What Red Flags Should an Employer Look for on Social Media?

The red flags employers should look for on social media include:

  • Illegal activities
  • Violent or aggressive behaviors or language
  • Discriminatory, racist or sexist comments
  • Sexually explicit material
  • Confidential information

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