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Top Social Media Check FAQ

How are Social Media checks valuable as an employer?

There are many advantages to performing a Social Media check on candidates. Below is a breakdown of a few of the top reasons:

  • CVs only provide one view of a candidate and often, during the interview process, candidates will portray a particular version of themselves. This makes it difficult to know whether they will not only suit the role they are applying for, but also fit into the team on a day-to-day basis.
  • By performing a Social Media check, employers have found that they are able to gain an insight into how candidates act, talk and represent themselves in a less professional setting. This gives an added layer of protection to their brand by ensuring that they hire someone with the same core values as their company.
  • Social Media checks also protect your current employees by ensuring that new starters do not pose a threat to their current staff.
  • In turn, this can reduce your turnover rate and save the cost and stress of re-hiring.
Are Social Media checks only used to find out bad things?

No! Social Media checks can enhance the onboarding process and general working environment by allowing employers to find candidates that match the workforce they are trying to create. Of course, some checks can provide information on areas such as drug use, insensitive comments and bad attitudes, but the main thing is that they allow employers to hire appropriate candidates for their organisation and thus improve staff turnover rates.

Is it legal?

Absolutely! A survey done by CareerBuilder showed that 70% of all employers use social media to screen their candidates. However, most of these were done by using their personal social media accounts to search for a candidate, which can result in legal issues, unnecessary company risk, or even lead to Hiring Managers making incorrect judgements by reviewing the wrong profile. If the candidate has created social media accounts that are publicly available, employers are allowed to view and, dependant on any restrictions on the content, use it. It is not, however, legal to ask candidates for their login credentials for their social media accounts or to make their social media accounts public for you to view.

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Further Social Media Check FAQ

Hopefully we can answer all of your Social Media check questions below, but if you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.

If I can do it myself, why should I consider outsourcing Social Media checks?

There are a number of reasons that employers find outsourcing Social Media checks useful:

  1. Professional screening companies help to solidify that the content you are viewing is for the correct person. This is due to applicable law which states that screening companies must have procedures in place to match the candidate to the available information, which can be tricky and time consuming when performing this type of check yourself. 
  2. Background screening companies help to keep consistency within the hiring process. If done internally by several people, their views and how they perform the check will differ from person to person, even with the best training. It can also prove to be problematic legally as candidates can claim that they are being treated differently to others. 
  3. Background screening companies can reduce the risk of employers seeing content that may be illegal or off-limits due to company policies. Even if an employer accidentally sees sensitive information, legally it can still be held against them that the information was used in the decision-making process. Such content includes religious beliefs, medical situations or sexual orientation.
What laws do background screening companies follow for Social Media checks?

Background screening companies follow a law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when performing a Social Media check, which require employers to:

  1. Obtain written consent from the candidate before beginning the screening.
  2. Provide specific communications to the candidate if contemplating taking adverse employment action based on the information found in the screening process. The candidate must also be provided the opportunity to dispute the information produced.
  3. Only view posts that have been made public by the candidate.
What do I need to do if I don't want to use a background screening company for a Social Media check?

If you choose to do Social Media checks yourself, you will need to make sure you have the correct processes and paperwork in place before beginning the check. This is not usually a difficult task, but must be done! If you are unsure of what documents you need, contact your legal counsel.

How does Vetting.com perform Social Media checks?

When you add a Social Media check to a candidate's profile, their social media posts and pictures are collected and analysed for one or more of the 13 risk classifications and specific key words. Once complete, the report will return to the candidate's profile for your review.

What are the risk classifications and what would result in a 'flag'?

Please be advised that the information below includes profanity, obscene language and images that could be upsetting.

  • Hate Speech – Derogatory, abusive and/or threatening statements toward a specific group of people typically on the base of race, religion or sexual orientation.
    "My boss is gay and I hate gay people."
  • Insults and Bullying – Name calling or derogatory statements toward an individual about their physical characteristics such as weight, height, looks, intelligence, etc.
    "Did you fall on your head as a child? You are pathetic."
  • Narcotics – Statements related to drugs and/or drug use including slang words, street names and phrases.
    "Can't wait until I get off work today, gonna get high."
  • Obscene Language – Profanity, cursing, swearing or in general crude or vulgar words and phrases.
    "Assholes never even called me back. Company sucked anyway."
  • Political Speech – Statements focussed on government policies, actions or specific politicians or ideologies. These often focus on specific issues such as abortion, environmental, immigration, government regulations, etc.
    "Climate change is real and we need to kill all the cows and eat all of their babies to keep our earth from dying."
  • Self-Harm – Indications of wanting to hurt oneself or take one's own life intentionally.
    "Is there any point in living anymore?"
  • Sexual Impropriety – Includes expressions relating to sexual misconduct that could be considered sexually demeaning or sexual harassment.
    "She is one horny slut."
  • Terrorism/Extremism - Statements expressing radical viewpoints typically related to politics or religion and considered outside of mainstream attitudes.
    "Allah will reward us for our jihad against the infidels in the United States."
  • Threat of Violence - An intent to inflict harm or loss of another person's life.
    "You do remember that I have a weapon and will not hesitate to stab you"
  • Toxic Language – A way of communicating that is considered to be rude, disrespectful, blaming, labelling or using guilt.
    "You'll have to mansplain that to the idiot in Number 10."
  • Drug-related Images – Images of pills, syringes, paraphernalia and alcohol.
  • Explicit/Racy Images – Mostly explicit nudity and some partial nudity.
  • Violent Images – Images of disfigurations, open wounds, burns, crime scenes and guns/weapons.
    Image analysis also extracts text from images, including memes, and analyses the text in the same way as all text on posts. If the image shows someone holding a sign, there will be an attempt to extract the text from the sign.

    Similarly, Keywords can be used to identify specific content which may appear in images e.g., searching for 'jogging' or 'running' to investigate a worker's compensation fraud where they claimed to be incapacitated from an accident.
  • Keywords – Flags posts based on matches to custom keywords provided.
    If "Volunteer" is a keyword, then any post containing this word will be flagged.

    Keyword flagging does not impact score nor determine if someone is speaking negatively about a particular word. It simply flags the word for a visual indication in the report.
What happens if 'risky' content is found?

If a post/image is matched to at least 1 risk category, with the probability that it is beyond a certain threshold, the content within the report will be 'flagged'. For example, if a post indicated the probability of 65% toxic language and 73% hate speech, the report would be flagged for hate speech. If a report is 'flagged', a reason will always be given within the report, specifying if it is related to text and/or an image. 

How does the Social Media check report work?

Once the Social Media check has been returned, the platform will show a 'Requires review' symbol on the check. This symbol will show whether or not there has been anything found on the check, as we believe that it is up to the employers to decide what their criterion for employment is, not us! By using Vetting.com's Social Media checks, you will be provided with a deeper insight into your candidate by using both artificial intelligence and human analysis.