Should Your Company Be Using This Popular Type of Background Check?

Human resource departments know that conducting background checks can be one of the most helpful aspects of the hiring process. While potential employees put their best foot forward in resumes, applications, and interviews, these portions only provide a limited scope of information about a candidate. Performing external reviews and finding extra data helps construct a more realistic view of the person you may be hiring. For many businesses, this looks like a standard pre-employment background check. However, in the growing age of digital media, an applicant’s social media accounts can give much of the same information and more.

What Is a Social Media Background Check? 

A social background check is a type of background check where a potential employee’s social media profiles are ethically analyzed to determine what type of candidate you’re truly looking at. It can be a way to learn more about someone in an honest and candid way, based on how said applicant chooses to present themselves on social media. Details of their networking, professional alliances, and personal endeavors outside of work, all of which can be essential for determining one’s fit in your company culture, are often found on social media platforms. Commonly-checked social media platforms include LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

How Do Employers Order a Social Media Search?

Pre-employment background checks on social media, on a grander level, measure social intelligence. Social intelligence refers to a person’s ability to navigate social situations, the intricacies of which can be extremely complicated and subjective. The concept combines the ability of a person to understand their own inner state alongside empathy for someone else. This empathy involves both parties’ thoughts and feelings, and using those two simultaneously to utilize social cognition. Social intelligence builds on social awareness and uses self-presentation, influence, concern, and non-verbal cues to ultimately result in smooth, effective, communicative interactions. 


Social media can be a great way to determine how a person behaves with respect to their environment. If someone is often picking fights, responding rudely, or being actively misunderstood through poorly-chosen wording in their posts, it could be implied that their social awareness is lower. While, of course, it can be harder to convey one’s self through social media, red flags may still be apparent. 

Happy employer interviews job applicant he found to be qualified by checking her social media as part of a background check.

What Should Your Company Look For in a Background Check? 

It’s illegal for employers to choose a candidate based on race, national origin, sex, color, religion, disability, genetic information, or certain ages when using pre-employment background checks. However, there are many factors companies can use to decide who is the best fit for a given job position, and different metrics for determining if a prospective employee fails a background check. Here are a few!

Inappropriate Company Posts 

Most pre-employment background checks don’t look for these, but social media-specific background checks include how applicants present their employment online. Inappropriate company posts include bad-mouthing of a current employer or revealing company-sensitive information.

Illicit Behavior 

Illicit behavior, especially when hyper-documented on social media, may indicate an employee who does not possess the responsibility to be an effective worker or who might be a risk to the company’s reputation. These behaviors may include drug use or excessive legal substance use, like overusing alcohol.

Offensive or Hateful Posts 

Scanning for racism, sexism, or hate speech of any kind is vital during background checks performed by employers, and is most often found through a social media-specific type of background check. Someone who perpetuates this type of language can carry that hatefulness into the workplace and upset fellow employees. Moreover, any hired applicant will be thereby representative of your company’s morals – of which offensive and hateful content should not be a key component.

Criminal History 

Standard types of pre-employment background checks will provide information about past offenses and criminal history, including thefts and crimes. A potential employee’s criminal history should be examined to ensure that whoever is hired is not a threat to your workplace. Criminal history does not necessarily bar someone from working a certain position, but the specific type of crimes and how they’ve been remediated will give valuable insight into an applicant’s character.

Driving Record 

Another common type of information provided by background checks is a person’s driving record. This type of background check includes accident history, speeding tickets, driving violations, and even DUIs. When analyzing a driving record, the goal is to determine a person’s responsibility with respect to the rules of the road. This can be especially important if you’re hiring someone for a delivery or transportation position.

Credit Reports 

Credit reports offer valuable insight into the fiscal responsibility of your applicant. A pre-employment credit report consists of compiled information from credit card companies, banks, lenders, and other financial institutions. That information is then passed on to credit bureaus, who maintain large-scale consumer records. Much like a driving record is vital for hiring a driver, credit reports and their indicated financial accountability are a must if hiring for a position that involves handling a company’s finances.

An employer reads the social media background check results of a job applicant.

How Do Companies Run Background Checks?

Attempting to sift through every potential applicant’s background can be daunting, which is where DataCheck comes in. Our full-service investigation company specializes in every type of background search necessary for employment screening, providing comprehensive background checks that you as an employer can count on. Astoundingly thorough, you’ll find detailed criminal background checks at a statewide, national, and international level, as well as reference checking, education verification, driving records, drug screening, credit reports, and more. 


Our social media searches specifically target illegal or hateful content, including potentially illicit activities, explicit material, or posts containing hate speech. Everything we do keeps candidate privacy at the forefront, abiding by state and federal laws filters. We’ve been leading the way in employment background screening for over 20 years, and we’re proud to offer the top-quality pre-employment screening necessary for keeping you and your workplace safe. Get started today by filling out our online form, and see what affordable rates we can provide based only on the information you need!