Social Media Background Screening

When you are looking to hire, are you worried about your applicant’s online presence? Social media screening continues to grow in both importance and controversy in 2021.

Employers look at social media accounts for many reasons, but mostly to determine if the applicant would be a good fit with their company and any red flags. It is often assumed that social media and social media searches are off-limits due to the personal information they contain, however it is completely legal to perform a social media search.

When applicants apply for a job opening, it should be assumed that any information you put out there could be accessible to a potential employer. The three main platforms that employers look at are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. However, LinkedIn is often used more as a relevant hiring tool for employers.

Even though your information is out there for potential employers, it is also not recommended to delete your profile when you are applying for a job. While the fear of having something embarrassing or negative might tempt people, sometimes that strategy can backfire. 47% of employers said they would not call a person for an interview if they cannot find them online and 20% of employers say they expect candidates to have an online presence according to CareerBuilder.

Whether it is intentional or not, not having a profile might make employers think that you have something to hide. Either you have taken steps to make sure you cannot be found or you are using a fictitious name, which may make it seem that you have something to hide.

The best practice is to make sure your profiles are clean, your presence is seen and you do not have anything inappropriate or embarrassing linked to your name.

Use Social Media to your benefit

If employers are going to perform a social media search, make that work to your advantage. CareerBuilder found that 58% of employers check social media to look for information supporting a candidate’s qualifications. 34% of hiring companies want to see what other people are posting about the candidate and only 24% of employers check social media to search for reasons not to hire someone.

While it is legal for employers to look at your public social media platforms, it is not legal for them to ask for login information to your accounts. Some candidates have reported hiring managers asking for this, in this case, you should consider withdrawing your application.

According to the survey, the main types of posts and behaviors that left employers with a bad impression included: posting inappropriate photos or videos 40%, posting about drinking or drugs 36%, posting discriminatory comments about race, gender, or religion 31%, lying about qualifications, and poor communication skills. This survey was conducted with over 1000 hiring managers and human resources professionals across a variety of industries and company sizes.

Before you apply, make sure your public, online persona is one you are proud of and one that represents you completely.


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