Does Screening Social Media Add Value?

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By Richard

Pre-employment background checks are all about getting insight into the behavior of job applicants. Typical background checks answer questions such as the following:

  • Does the person use illegal drugs?
  • Do they drive recklessly?
  • Are they honest?
  • Do they engage in criminally dangerous activity?
  • Are they lying about their identity?

Criminal background checks, motor vehicle reports, and drug tests are just a few of the screens employers can run to answer these important questions. 

But these aren’t the only behaviors that can cause problems for employers. Other habits, such as threatening violence, extreme use of obscenities, degrading people based on race, sex, religion, etc., and other similar attitudes and activities can also be disruptive in the workplace. Online background checks of social media accounts can shed light on some of these character issues.

Can social media screening add value? Is it worth adding social media screening to your background check package? Here are three arguments in favor of social media screens.

Risk Mitigation

The primary benefit of all pre-employment background checks is risk mitigation and social media screening is no exception. Difficult employees cause a variety of problems for your organization, including these:

  • Low morale
  • Conflict
  • Fraud and other criminal activity
  • Bad PR
  • Litigation
  • Higher insurance premiums

The list could go on and on. Social media screens can help you identify behaviors that increase the risk of experiencing these and other issues in your workplace. 

Brand Protection

Business owners know that protecting their brand is everything. The types of character issues revealed via social media screens can have a major impact on your brand. Consider these examples:

  • One of your healthcare workers has a viral video of themselves making racist comments about their patients.
  • One of your school’s teachers has multiple posts about holocaust denial.
  • One of your senior executives shares x-rated adventures from their most recent vacation.

When these and other similar incidents get out, and they always do, the blowback will hit your organization. Some “personal” items go beyond the strictly personal and have the power to seriously damage the credibility and reputation of your brand. Social media screens are the only way to find this stuff before it hurts your business. 

Toxic Environment

Employers have the responsibility to create a workplace that’s safe for all. You have the right to expect your employees to interact with one another and with customers and vendors in ways that are professional and respectful. Toxic behaviors such as racism, sexism, hate speech, obscenity, harassment, etc., have no place at work; their presence creates a culture that contradicts your values and makes it impossible for folks to feel safe and do their best work. Ultimately, this impacts your bottom line; you’ll spend a fortune cleaning up the mess one toxic person makes at work. 

Standard background checks won’t uncover everything; a social media check fills in the gaps and helps you build a positive corporate culture. 

Do you need help adding social media screens to your background check policy? Talk to your background screening provider today.

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