Social Media Screening: What it is and Why You Should Be Doing It

Press Release from Creative Services, Inc.

The repercussions of hiring the wrong person—including the impact on team morale, company reputation and on client relationships—can be significant.

Apr 05, 2023


Yet 43% of hiring managers admit to making a “bad hire” as a result of an insufficient background check. If you are in a regulated industry, the stakes are multiplied. That’s why more and more companies are not only performing traditional background checks, but they’re also supplementing their investigations with social media screening.

What is Social Media Screening?

In a COVID-19 and Post-COVID-19 world, more people are working from home, with easier access to social media and an increased need for interaction and collaboration, even if that interaction is done virtually. Social media has become the fastest and easiest way to participate in social networking and/or share content.

90% of the total U.S. population uses social media, and the average person has 7.1 accounts. Because there are so many opportunities for people to post publicly, social media screening can be an extremely valuable part of a background check. Conducting a social media screening includes a publicly available search of popular social media platforms and emerging platforms for all content that was authored, shared or liked by the subject of the search.

Employers are Looking

Reviewing candidates and employees online personas are growing in popularity. A Harris Poll from 2020 found that 71% of U.S. hiring decision-makers feel that looking at candidates’ social media profiles is an effective way to screen applicants, and 70% believe employers should screen all applicants’ social media profiles before hiring them. In the same poll, more than half of the respondents (55%) did not hire an applicant because of their social media content.

Social media screening is particularly advantageous because certain traits or concerning behaviors might not be flagged in a traditional background check. When it comes to bringing new employees into a company, employers want to mitigate areas of concern including violence, hostility, harassment and bullying, negligent hiring practices and lawsuits. Doing so helps protect the company brand from bad publicity, maintain a positive workplace culture, and ensure the safety of existing employees.

According to an article by Inc., the most common red flags hiring managers have uncovered through social media screening are the following:

  • Provocative photos/videos
  • Drinking/using drugs
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion
  • Bad-mouthing previous company or fellow employee
  • Lying about qualifications
  • Poor communication skills
  • Links to criminal behavior
  • Sharing confidential information from previous employers
  • Unprofessional screen names
  • Lying about an absence

Social media searches can reveal some of the risk issues above or a pattern of behavior that may not be aligned with a company’s core values.

The Cons of Social Media Screening

While the pros of social media screening are far-reaching, knowing its cons and limitations is just as important. Consistency and accuracy are pivotal to ensuring a proper screening program. This takes time and expertise to understand what, where and how searches are being conducted. Accuracy is critical to ensure the social media search is being conducted on the right person. Identifiers are essential to ensure this aspect, and a process for disputes should be developed in the event of mistaken or stolen identity. Most importantly, social media screening may reveal personal information about someone’s protected class including race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability or genetic information—none of which can be legally taken into account when making hiring decisions, but may inadvertently play an unconscious role in one’s decision-making.

Social Media Screening Solutions from CSI

Not all background checks are created equal. At Creative Services, Inc., our social media search solutions are comprehensive, consistent and accurate and are provided to our clients via easy-to-read reports. These reports remove protected class information and provide concise reporting with flagged areas of concern including online demonstrations of racism or intolerance, potentially illegal activity, potentially violent conduct and/or sexually explicit material.

Find out if CSI’s Social Media Screening Solutions can help your company reduce risk associated with new hires.

Contact us to get started.

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