Learning & Development

Social Media Screening: Another Way to Background-Check Potential Employees

Social media says a lot about a person. Over 70% of the U.S. population has at least one social media account, and in 2020, the average person spent upward of 65 minutes per day online. What people post, like, and comment on is very telling of their values and behavior.

As such, social media screening is a recently popular component to the preemployment background check process. We spoke with Cody Farzad, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Frasco Profiles, to learn more.

What Do Social Media Screenings Look For?

In the past year, there’s been a 50% increase in companies using social media screening as part of candidate background checks.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulations apply to social media screenings: All information should be current and complete, and the reports must be focused on business-related behavior, which includes:

  • Potentially unlawful behavior
  • Potentially violent behavior
  • Racism and/or demonstrations of intolerance
  • Sexually explicit material

What Does the Data Say?

“The value of doing a Social Media report is being able to potentially identify these types of behaviors,” Farzad explains. Areas of concern for employers include hostility and harassment, employee and client safety, negligent hiring and lawsuits, and bad publicity. Social media reports search for potential risks to employers. The data shows that:

  • 65% of content is flagged for intolerance.
    • Racism, bigotry, sexism, hate speech, or discrimination
  • 45% of content is flagged for potential violence.
    • Aggressive online verbiage, cyberbullying, display or use of force or violence, and threatening language
  • 35% of content is flagged for being sexually explicit.
    • Sexualized or sexual acts/material
  • 35% of content is flagged for being potentially illegal.
    • Theft, fraud, solicitation, underage alcohol consumption, drug use, and child pornography
  • 8% of content is flagged based on a company’s specifications.

Employers should have a social media report policy with a narrow focus on issues above. Anything posted during business hours takes priority, and businesses should never ask potential employees for private information, like passwords.

Check out our on-demand session to learn more about social media screening and background checks.