What is Social Media Background Screening?

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Posted by: David Garcia April 07, 2021

Almost everyone has a social media presence and that presence often spans multiple platforms with the availability of information growing each year.

At the same time, employers are becoming increasingly concerned about risks, both criminal and reputational, about a candidate’s past history impacting the workplace. Regardless of political affiliation, January 6th was a watershed moment for the impact of social media behavior on employees and job candidates.

While social media screening has been growing, the events of January 6th have put social media behavior front & center for many CHROs and these types of check components are growing dramatically.

What is social media background screening?

Social media screening is when an employer or a background check company, on behalf of the employer reviews a job candidate’s social media profiles to look for objectionable content that violates internal policies.

Social media screens must be done compliantly, to ensure accuracy, the protection of a candidate’s rights, and to reduce an employer’s litigation risk.

Still curious? Try a free one on us to see what a professional social media screening entails for your company.

How does social media screening work?

The best practice is to use a 3rd party background check company that offers this service. That company will follow compliant procedures, with the candidate’s permission, to review their social media profiles.

These services will then flag objectionable content and protect you from viewing information that is protected under EEOC guidelines. Importantly, these companies will also provide a candidate the opportunity to dispute any findings in case the wrong social media profile was reviewed.

Is social media screening legal?

Social media screening is legal, assumed it is being performed in a compliant and consistent manner.

You will want to ensure your company has a clear policy on social media standards, that you’re following an adverse action process like you would for any other background check component, and we recommend working with a qualified 3rd party to perform the social media check.

You also need to make sure you have a consistent policy on who you are screening, as a position level for example, versus a one-off screen on individual candidates.

Should you perform social media screening in-house?

The short answer is no.
Try a free one on us to see the difference for your company.

If you are reviewing a candidate’s social media profile, you may be exposed to information about the candidate that is “protected”, opening you up to discrimination lawsuits. You may also not be looking at the right candidate and may not have their permission to do this in an employment context.

In short, you are creating a great deal of risk for your company by reviewing a candidate’s social media profile versus using a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant solution.

Are social media checks expensive and how long do they take?

Social media check pricing ranges between $30 and $60 depending on your volume of activity and the depth of the report.

These types of background check components typically take under 3 days to complete.

How can ScoutLogic help?

ScoutLogic provides a full range of pre-employment background check solutions, including social media screening. Our Scout service model makes background checks easy for recruiters, so you can focus on finding great talent for your company.

If you’re not sure your current background check process is compliant or cost-effective, get a free assessment of your current program to see where you need to improve:

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