We have always had some form of dependence on technology both in our personal and professional lives. This reliance has never been more recognised across the world than right now. We use technology to gather information, look for job roles and hire prospective employees. All these necessities for the internet have led to a reliance on social media unlike that which we have ever seen before.
Some surprising stats about social media and how much we use it include:
- There are over 3 billion people in the entire world who use social media
- The average person tends to spend around 3 hours every day using social media
- Within the UK, the number of people who use social media is expected to reach around 51 million by the year 2025 (YouTube and Facebook are currently the two most used platforms).
How Does the Increasing Popularity of social media Pages Affect Businesses?
Of course, the increased reliance on social media platforms affects business within the realm of marketing, but it also massively affects businesses when it comes to the analysis of job applicants. The recruitment process can be a difficult one but thanks to social media and the fact most candidates will have a variety of online accounts spanning from Facebook, to TikTok to the more niche platforms like gaming sites, means that it is not hard to use social platforms to gather information about job candidates before you have even met them.
You can learn a significant amount about candidates from just their online activity and social media presence alone. As such, it is hardly a surprise that a hiring manager and hr professionals will now more than likely run a background check as part of the recruitment process to ensure they are looking at the right candidate. Thanks to the array of social media profiles that people now have, it isn’t difficult to discover this online presence. Job candidates will likely have social media footprints reviewed before they are even asked to come in for an interview.
Social media background checks can be effective when it comes to ensuring you are getting the right people in for the role. It does also raise the question on whether businesses are carrying out these checks correctly.
What Actually is a Social Media Background Check?
When a company carries out a social media background check and produces a report on a candidate throughout the hiring process, it reduces risks to your company’s brand, online reputation, and security. These background checks will work by a social media screening being carried out on job candidates to identify negative behaviours that could include the likes of racism, bullying, nudity and bad language. All of this negative online information could come back to harm your business and as such, it is good to spot it early on.
These checks, that can often be carried out by background check services using software such as Yoono, are done to complement the checks that are already done by hr professionals as part of the recruitment process. They give the potential employer a full picture of the applicant, allowing them to properly assess the risk that could come with the hire, meaning they can properly work out if the applicants next job will be with them.
It is important that the tools used by a company when they complete a social media check are GDPR compliant. They can help massively to avoid making a bad hire and putting organizations at risk as a result.
Why Are Social Media Background Checks So Important to Different Businesses?
It is incredibly important that social media pages are searched, and social media background checks are carried out when considering whether to hire a person. They eradicate the risk of unconscious bias creeping into the hiring process and allow to properly assess the risks of hiring someone. Background checks also help in the realm of:
If on social platforms an individual has displayed an array of negative behaviour then this can have a knock-on effect on both your staff, the business, your brand, and your customers. For instance, if social media checks show job candidates as leaking company information in previous roles such as client data or the company number, then this is an obvious negative trait.
A social media check on the likes of Facebook and Twitter can also reveal whether someone has links to prohibited organisations or illegal activity. A candidate with such links may well expose the company to illicit activities in the future such as fraud, corruption, or bribery. These are all activities that organisations want to stay well away from and as such, there is no doubt any candidate showing signs of this activity is a nonstarter.
The way companies are perceived online now is a massive factor towards their success. Instances of bigotry in the form of sexism and racism can come back to damage how well an organisation does. As such, any hire that could link your business to such things is someone you need to stay away from. Social media checks will allow you to validate information about a client, helping you understand whether they are someone you can trust and who won’t run the risk of scandals such as those referenced above.
How Should a Business Carry Out a Background Check on Social Media Profiles
Having a look online for a client is GDPR compliant and as such, there are a lot of businesses who are happy to do it themselves. Whilst this could be tempting for a hiring manager, the DIY approach comes with risks, and these need to be considered.
The Picture Isn’t Complete
If your social media background check starts and stops with simply googling the name of a candidate, then this could potentially breach some form of legislation and regulation. More to the point, if your search counts on a google and a quick read then you aren’t going to get the full picture of the person, you are also not guaranteed to get on the right page either. Efficient software such as Yoono can provide a full breakdown on a given term or name which would be much more effective with getting the full picture.
Your Results Will Be Subjective
When you are reading what comes up following social media checks, the results you take away from your DIY search are going to be entirely subjective. They will be based on what you or what a particular recruiter believes. For instance, you might care more about qualities and skills over formal education, but a recruiter might not see it that way, and as such a good candidate ready for hiring is lost.
Information Could Be Out of Date
Time passes, people change and views change. As such, you might see someone who has applied for a job at your environmental business ranting about how they think climate change is a myth. This will naturally put you off hiring them but who is to say whether those views are in date or not? The person may well no longer think like that and are actually now a prime candidate.
The Right to Reply
It can be hard to properly articulate an opinion or get tone across well in a post on social media and as such, if you have found something that could damage a prospective candidates success rate, they should have a chance to respond to this. If the social media checks that are carried out are not handled in a correct and respectful manner, then this could have a large impact on trust moving forward.
Not Properly Informing Candidates
It is a general rule that candidates must be informed about whether or not there are searches that are being carried out on them. All kinds of discrimination and data protection laws apply equally to people across the board. This means that there has to be a proper legal basis for carrying out social media reviews and if any data is collected as a result of these checks, then it has to be completely proportionate, relevant and necessary.
There Has to Be an Aim
You cannot simply begin an online search randomly with the hope of picking any information that you come across. In other words, your checks aren’t allowed to simply be a ‘fishing expedition’. Instead, the social media checks must be carried out with a proper aim, thoroughly assessing whether a candidate is suitable for a role.
The Benefits of Hiring Professionals to Carry Out Your Social Media Checks
Due to the above risks that come with carrying out background checks on social media pages, there are a lot of organisations who unsurprisingly choose to outsource their work to other businesses. In doing this, the business is going to benefit by getting a completely unbiased and objective view on a prospective employee. Not to mention, your business will be able to rest easy in knowing that all of the work carried out will be done with legality.
Some of the other benefits that come with outsourcing this kind of work include:
The Removal of Bias
As mentioned above, when a third-party company is used to carry out these checks, you are removing the risk of any kind of bias. If not eliminated, then this could result in the discrimination of prospective employees and influence a hiring managers decision making.
Bias can be conscious and unconscious. Unconscious is a lot harder to tackle as a lot of the time they surround thoughts we are not even aware we are having. They involve us leaning more towards a certain candidate because they look like us or have shared similar life experiences. These can come into play when deciding on who to hire without you even realising. By outsourcing for background checks, you are using a third party with no immediate connection to the hire and as such, the risk of unconscious bias is lessened.
Improve Employer Reputation
It is very important for you, as a business, to focus on your online reputation. There are a number of different ways that you are able to do this; however, a clear one that comes as a consequence of outsourcing for background checks includes the fact you are tackling issues surrounding diversity, bias and inclusion head on.
In doing this you are going to be improving the way that both prospective candidates and employers perceive your brand. This can go a long way when it comes to your overall success and growth as having a consistently positive brand is a massive part of doing well in business, especially in the digital age we currently live in.
Access to the Best Software Allows You to Get the Whole Picture
Third party organisations who run background checks daily are going to have access to some of the best software out there. Organisations such as Yoono who can produce detailed reports surrounding businesses and individuals are essential when getting the full picture surrounding someone. Access to such technology will be very beneficial to hiring managers and businesses as there will be no stone left unturned and no risk of reading the wrong information either.
Why It Is Important for Businesses to Carry Out Social Media Checks
People all over the world rely on technology in some way or another in both their personal and professional lives. This has an impact on businesses when hiring new candidates because of the fact background checks can be run to efficiently work out if a prospective employee will be a right fit for the company. These background checks are important for businesses as they can assess the behaviour of an individual to ensure that were they brought on board, the reputation and integrity of the company will not be in jeopardy as a result.
There are a number of risks that come with a business running a background check internally, such as the risk of results becoming subjective, information being out of date or incorrect, and searches not being thorough enough. Software such as that provided by Yoono can be very beneficial to businesses as they will be able to get a detailed report that provides a full and unbiased image on an individual.
If you or your business would like to know more about Yoono and what they can do to assist you throughout the hiring process, then do not hesitate to get in touch.