Should You Use Social Media For Pre Employment Screening?

There’s no denying the need for pre employment background checks during the hiring process.  However, a lot of employers have started looking to social media platforms to aid or even replace more traditional checks.  This naturally begs the question of “should social media be used during the employment screening process?” This post will assess how it compares to a standard advanced background check and whether it has any viability at all.

How Useful Is A Traditional Background Check?

Pre-employment screening services provide valuable information about a candidate’s work and personal history.  This knowledge can be used to identify a qualified applicant and make sure they are legally able to work. A typical advanced background search can be used to check a myriad of work related information.  Things like education verification, identity checks, past criminal charges, prior drug record, credit history and identity verification are all standard checks in the industry.

Limits Of Advanced Background Checks

Despite this wealth of knowledge, a professional background check won’t tell the whole story.  For instance, it doesn’t tell you anything about a candidate’s personality. Even during a face-to-face interview the applicant is likely showing you their interview persona rather an accurate representation of themselves.  For this reason some employers have started to turn to social media to get a better idea of an applicant’s personality.

Why Social Media?

Did you know that the average American spends around 3 hours a day on social media?  Such exposure allows employers to observe a potential hire’s social interactions. They can look into a candidate’s interests and temperament to see if they’d fit in well with other employees.

The Problems With Social Media Background Checks

Though it sounds like there’s a lot that can be learned from social platforms, many experts believe there is limited value.  Here’s a short list of some hiccups you’ll likely encounter.

  • The Social Media Persona: Like the facade a candidate can show during an in-person interview, their social media identity probably doesn’t reflect who they actually are.
  • Cyber Identities: In some cases it can be difficult to find the person you want to research.  Without asking them directly you will be hard pressed to figure out their account name.
  • Reliability:  You’ll constantly be wondering if the information you find is even accurate.  Anybody can post just about anything so you might struggle separating fact from fiction.
  • Is it even legal?:  Some states have passed laws prohibiting employers from requiring social media information from job applicants.  It is expected that more follow suit in the coming years.

At the end of the day the amount of useful information you could draw from social media background checks is limited at best.  In no way should it be used as a replacement for a standard advanced background check. Stick to experts like ESS when it comes to pre-employment screening.  We’ll get you the information you need while making the process as simple and user friendly as possible.