What Should Employers Check Out on Social Media Before Hiring an Employee? Skip to Content

What Should Employers Check Out on Social Media Before Hiring an Employee?

According to Career Builder, most employers who surf social media before hiring are looking for crucial details. First, they hope to discover information that supports the applicant’s qualifications. Second, they’re hoping to learn more about the applicant’s personality. But they also want to know what other people say about the potential candidate, including any reason not to hire them.

So, what types of things should you check on social media to answer the above questions? Here are five elements of a potential hire’s social media accounts you should look at before onboarding begins.

 

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1. Quality of the Applicant’s Communication

With some social media platforms, communication comes in small 140-character bites. But that doesn’t mean a candidate can’t express themselves coherently. Employers should look at the quality of each person’s communication, including how they address differing opinions.

Check on the suitability of the mode of communication based on the social media site you find it on. For example, using slang and abbreviations is understandable on Instagram, where hashtags reign. But using colloquialisms on LinkedIn isn’t as admirable.

Knowing when and where to use certain types of communication is crucial in most jobs. Search for proof that your candidates can handle themselves in different types of interpersonal settings and interactions.

 

2. The Nature of the Candidate’s Appearance

As an employer, it may be none of your business how your staff dresses or wears their hair while off the clock. But when it comes to industries where your staff interacts with high-profile clients, you at least want their visible social media accounts to convey professionalism.

Provocative or otherwise inappropriate images on social media are often a no-no for employers. Look at the job applicant’s profile and see what type of clothing and poses the images include. Even a private social media profile can be damaging to your company’s reputation if the potential hire’s profile picture is offensive.

 

3. What Type of Language the Potential Hire Uses

Regardless of your industry, it’s never wise to hire someone who is blatantly biased toward certain groups or individuals. Discriminatory comments on social media—whether original or shared from the applicant’s profile—are a definite no-no.

Thoughtful and nondiscriminatory language is a highlight here. Look for inclusive language, attention to diversity, and opinions without offensive words and phrases. You may have personal limitations as to what is appropriate and what isn’t for online communication, of course.

Consider what your company culture considers acceptable verbiage and go with that baseline for your social media checks. Checking these details ahead of time could prevent you from hiring an undesirable candidate. The worst-case scenario would be investing in hiring and training someone but later having to fire them because they continue to post content that goes against company policy.

By choosing candidates to interview who prove they can handle themselves online, you can avoid potentially embarrassing publicity later.

 

4. Signs of Substance Abuse

Most companies would feel confident hiring someone who drinks a beer after work and posts it online occasionally. However, those same organizations will likely balk at hiring someone who routinely shares party snaps on Instagram or has a YouTube channel for competition-level beer pong.

Whether it’s true or not, the conception most of us have of those who “party hard” is not a good one. In general, people assume that partiers are unreliable when it comes to work and other responsibilities.

When it comes to your company, however, why take the risk? You need reliable and honest people as part of your team—and that starts with knowing how to manage their personal time.

Looking for signs that a prospective hire uses alcohol or drugs irresponsibly (or illegally) is a smart step. Nixing candidates who would fail a drug test or pose a hazard in the work environment can save you time and profits in the long run.

 

5. Qualifications for the Desired Role

Plenty of job seekers apply for roles that they may not possess the qualifications for. It’s understandable, but at the same time, it’s not ideal for hiring managers to weed through applications and figure out who has the skills they need. And since studies suggest many applicants lie on their resumes—as much as 85 percent—fact-checking is crucial.

Searching for evidence of a candidate’s qualifications via their social media is a great step. You can verify their professional connections’ endorsements of their skills, for example. You may also find evidence of certificates earned, courses completed, and even conferment of a degree.

Many people share pivotal educational and career moments on their social media feeds. Scrolling through a potential hire’s posts is a simple way to confirm what they claim about their background and abilities.

Next Steps for Social Media Screening

It can be time-consuming to sift through job applications, resumes, cover letters, and other hiring paperwork. But add background checks to that to-do list? Now you’re looking at even more hours just trying to find candidates for open positions, let alone hiring and training them.

The benefits of checking on job seekers’ backgrounds are clear. As a business owner or HR professional, outsourcing background investigations is simpler than ever. Thanks to our expertise and the expertise of the numerous applya-approved vendors, it might be the easiest decision you make when it comes to the hiring process.