What is Social Intelligence and How Does it Help Inform a Social Background Check?

Oftentimes, filling an empty position can be a challenge. However, recruiters, small business owners, and human resource managers alike can use social media screening to their benefit. In addition to helping you stay in contact with friends and family, social media is now being used as a part of the hiring process. Social media has made it both easier to find candidates and has helped to ensure that they are an appropriate fit for the position. 

Social media background checks are becoming utilized more often as part of the hiring process. They provide information to help make good decisions and provide a safe work environment for all employees.

Man looking at social media on his phone and computer

Why Use Social Intelligence?

Employers use social media screening for a variety of reasons, but most want to make sure that the candidate is a good fit for their company’s culture. DeeAnn Sims, founder of Dark Horse PR states: “Because we tend to view our personal social media accounts as being ‘personal’, there’s a good chance that by viewing someone’s profile, you’ll get a glimpse into their personality beyond the resume.” This is especially important for hiring remotely when you won’t actually get to meet the candidate face to face. An applicant’s social media account can also make employers aware of any red flags. 

Loss of brand reputation is one of the main concerns of CEOs worldwide. Social intelligence is often used as part of the social media screening process. This automates the online screening process and gives a report on a candidate’s social behavior. It can drastically reduce the risk of negligent hiring and harassment claims. Social intel allows companies to use bias-free data to assess the risk of hiring a certain employee.  

Who Is Using Social Media?

A recent CareerBuilder study found that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates, and 57% are less likely to interview a candidate that does not have an online presence. That’s because employers feel that someone who does not have an online social media account might have something to hide.

Some of the most common platforms that employers search are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Many hiring managers look at LinkedIn because it is business-related and can be used to validate the information. Most view Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as more personal sites. Despite what job seekers think, most employers are using these platforms for reasons to hire a candidate, not for reasons to not hire them. They are looking for a professional online presence. 

Some red flags for employers were inappropriate photographs or videos, excessive drinking or drug use, or discriminatory comments related to race, gender, or religion. Most times, however, an employer uses social media to validate information rather than looking for condemning behavior. 

Woman checking social media on her phone

Is Social Media Screening Legal?

Social media account checking is usually not part of background checks, which focus on employment history, credit information, and criminal history. There could be issues that arise under a social media background check done in house.

As long as the hiring manager is reviewing posts that are public, there are no laws that prohibit the use of a candidate’s social media to make an informed decision. While there are many laws that prohibit discrimination, provided the recruiter or hiring manager is not being biased, the information found on a candidate’s online public profile can be used. 

However, any information that is found via online research from social media and other internet sites must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and anti-discrimination laws. Besides potential discrimination issues, it is incredibly time-consuming for a hiring manager to scour social media sites in search of the right candidate and all their posted information. And if a candidate has a common name, the recruiter needs to make sure the information is for the right candidate. For this reason, using DataCheck and its FCRA compliant social media search is important to protect a company and its hiring processes. 

Utilizing social media to screen job candidates is becoming a popular hiring practice. Screening job candidates on social media must be done responsibly and consistently. There are potential risks to searching social media sites so it must be done correctly by a company that has experience doing so. DataCheck can help you get started off in the right direction with our social media searches. Contact our experts today.