What Everyone Needs to know about Social Media and Background Screening

Social media accounts are now an everyday part of life for job seekers and make up an important part if their identity, history, character and interests. Since inception, where we saw platforms like Bebo and MySpace launch, social media has allowed people to share their innermost thoughts, feelings, interests and beliefs. When a potential employer conducts a social media background screening in order to evaluate suitability for a job vacancy, what do both parties need to be aware of?

The reason for screening

Background checks within the pre-employment screening stage are now an accepted, required and necessary part of the job application process. However, more and more companies are conducting a review of an applicant’s social media channels in order to evaluate their personality and suitability for a position. While employment discrimination is of course illegal, it can be argued that personal information gathered via social media screening is needed, given the valuable character analysis it can offer when deciding on whether to offer an applicant a job or not. But when asked to screen the social media accounts of an applicant, CBS always ensures that we have the permission of the account holder beforehand.

Social media matters

Social media background checks affect a high percentage of applicants, with a 2014 survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers finding that more than 40% of them actively use the internet to research potential applicants, with around 50% of those hiring managers using information found online to withdraw or deny job offers.

People’s social media accounts are an extension of who they are. However, the revelation of someone’s Facebook bio stating their personal sexual, political or religious beliefs could, in some cases, adversely affect their job prospects. This is why CBS ensures that this kind of personal information is not a factor on job applications, with our social-media screening requiring an applicant’s permission and checks only job relevant content.

Be aware of what you post

As social media is still a fairly new method of communication, it seems that not everyone has fully grasped the impact it can potentially have on employment opportunities. Due to the friendly, open and accepting nature of social media platforms, where people are able to surround themselves by supportive friends, family and those with similar views and opinions, people are encouraged and rewarded for baring their most personal thoughts, beliefs and identities. For many, it would not even occur to them that something they posted on Twitter a year ago could be flagged up on a pre-employment screening check, highlighting concerns over their history and behaviour online.

The future

Social media has become an ever growing part of our lives, evolving from a desktop based website we used sparingly, to a 24/7 app that we all carry around in our pockets all day in which we willingly share who we are, what we believe and what we have done with our lives. The issues of discovering a potential employee’s suitability for a role via social media is something that is going to grow and develop as we all adjust to living in a world where our physical and virtual selves are intrinsically linked, yet can reflect different aspects of our personality. Some will want to keep this information private while some will be happy to share.

But social media screening can provide an accurate and in-depth character analysis for organisations seeking to make the best hire. CBS carries out this service as we feel it has become an important part of the screening process and helps to determine a candidate’s suitability for the post and gives a better overall impression on how they are going to represent the hiring organisation.

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