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Benefits of social media background checks

Candidate “background checks” can mean something different in every organisation. For some, it’s the usual credit and criminal history, phoning a reference, skill tests and/or checking that the qualifications are legit. In the new age of digital everything, this concept has become even more opaque, with hiring managers adding social media to the mix.

Some feel that hiring decisions shouldn’t hinge on this method alone, and we’re inclined to agree. But looking into a candidate’s social media profiles can provide valuable insight into who they really are as a person and not just as a candidate. Likewise, it can also pull up any red flags that you may have missed. Think about it, when we go for an interview, we put our best foot forward; it’s essentially a personal brand sales pitch.

Here are some of the benefits of using social media in the screening process:

You gain valuable insight into their informal life. Looking at a candidate’s online presence can give you deeper insight into how they truly behave and who they really are. Nevertheless, remember; don’t completely rebuff a candidate for what they do in their personal time unless it would harm your brand image.

The beneficial nuggets you’ll find. This new method is not solely used to find the negatives but helps you to learn more about their positive traits. In many cases, candidates are so nervous in interviews that they forget to mention all the positives they had carefully planned out beforehand. Not to mention, it’s hard to be yourself when nerves take the reins.

You’ll recognise the bad fits immediately. Candidates who are vocal online about controversial opinions could potentially be a contentious issue in the workplace or with certain members of the team. You want to hire a good fit for the people this candidate will work with. Looking at the types of posts shared and how they interact online, whether they use derogatory language or verbally abuse others on the platforms, or worse badmouth their previous employer, can help you recognise this early. Respect is always key.

This further points to the potential legal consequences for individuals and potential employers as well, with the soon to be gazetted hate speech bill. This stands to induce larger scale “damage” to both an employer and individual as a result of social media content and conduct. Making use of this screening then forms a proactive approach.

Valuable professional references. Platforms like LinkedIn have allowed candidates to receive endorsements, which often come from others who have personally worked with the candidate you are considering. This information will be invaluable. However, looking into this for a wide range of candidates can be very time-consuming.

These are some of the many benefits of using social media screening when looking for the perfect hire, and it’s important to remember to look at the data objectively (bias can creep in without us even knowing it).

On that note, DAV has added social media reporting to our candidate screening process, and it’s completely free for our clients. It allows us to improve our screening for culture fit so that we can send you the perfect hire, every time. Be sure to discuss this service with your consultant if you’re keen to give it a try.

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