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How Often Does a Background Check Include Social Media?

July 13th, 2015

After a brief break to refocus the direction of our monthly blog, we are happy to be back and have a contributing writer Lisa Green who wrote a very relevant piece on companies using social media as a source in their background check process.  Lisa is an aspiring blogger who you should keep your eyes out for as she builds her online presence. Be sure to check back monthly as we will be returning to our monthly schedule.

Michael Dash


Parallel HR Solutions

How Often Does a Background Check Include Social Media? 

The world of social media grows by the second and with every growing second, there are more and more comments, pictures and videos posted that could potentially hinder an applicant’s chances of landing their dream job.

Finding a job was once a simple process but now, companies all over are screening their applicants on everything from their criminal history to their driving records, and even their social media presence.

Different types of career fields choose different types of screening that apply specifically to their job requirements and many are now using social media as a way of seeing if an applicant’s personality will mesh well with their current staff.

Jobs That Require Social Media Checks

In 2015, more than 80 percent of companies use social media checks as part of their screening process. For those companies, it’s a great way to see what an applicant’s personality type is without directly asking them during an interview process.

Media and entertainment companies use social media screening the most because of their influences on society. Careers in politics, education, and hospitality use social media screening heavily because of applicant’s interactions with the public. Technology companies use social media to see how involved applicants are in the tech community.

In essence,  more and more organizations are using social media as a crucial part of their hiring whether they are a public or private company.

What Social Media Checks Uncover

During an interview process, an applicant may present themselves professionally and politely to their potential employer. Many interviewers understand it’s a part of the interview process to act professionally and put your best foot forward, but an employer still doesn’t get a true sense of an applicant’s personality so they turn to social media screening.

The information on an applicant’s Facebook or Twitter page can reveal a lot about their personality:

Lack of networking – Employers look at who an applicant connects with and what groups they are a part of. It shows an employer that the applicant is outgoing and willing to interact with people they might not necessarily have had connections with otherwise.

A challenging part of most people’s career is making connections with those in the workplace and with a weak sense of networking, many employers will determine an applicant can’t handle the pressure of meeting new people.

Typos and incomplete profiles — Continuous typos or incomplete profiles can show an employer that an applicant is inattentive to detail. In careers that require an applicant to write or type, this can be a huge turn off to employers.

A bland profile – Employers want energetic and passionate employees to work for their company. It makes the overall atmosphere a more enjoyable one so when employers see a Facebook or Twitter profile with un-energetic posts or uninteresting pictures, they assume the applicant will only be a stale addition to their team.

Inappropriate pictures and videos – It’s the quickest way for an employer to exit out of an applicant’s profile and never think about them again for any future position. Those crazy nights at a bar may come back to haunt an applicant because an employer could see them as immature or lacking control in their lives.

In addition, photos or videos that are inappropriate for everyone to see, could potentially come back to haunt not only the employee themselves but their company. Employers think about what a potential applicant’s Facebook presence could do to their company’s reputation. No employer wants their employees posting media that could potentially come back and affect their company.

The Right Social Media Screening Partner

Social media can be detrimental to an applicant’s chances at landing the perfect job, which is why being proactive can reduce those chances of not getting hired.

Many times, applicants who know their social media pages are subject to screening by potential employers will take it upon themselves to clean up their social media accounts. They’ll also search for social media screening partners who specialize in analyzing social media pages, so they can ensure nothing will affect their chances of getting a job.

Thing to Keep in Mind

It is advised to check your settings on various social sites, assure that you are reaching the right audience, and be proactive all the time. Some pictures, for instance, may be fine for friends but not appropriate for the public and by simply adjusting your settings this can be controlled. Furthermore, it is important to assume that your potential employer will look at your social media presence whether they tell you about it or not.


By: Lisa Green

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