background check for employment

For better or worse, we’re all a little guilty of using social media platforms on a daily. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are only some of the platforms billions of people use around the world. This presents a unique opportunity for employers to perform a background check for employment before hiring new staff.

According to Harvard Business Review, 70% of employers check their candidates’ profiles on social media during screening, with 54% rejecting candidates based on their findings. However, it’s important to be careful when performing background checks via social media because personal bias can affect your judgment.

People of different religions, ethnicities, lifestyles or political views than yours can automatically be deemed “unfit” for a job – this is a wrong way to go about it. Let’s discuss how you can perform a background check for employment the right way and benefit from the process instead of eliminating talented candidates based on first impressions.

Background Check Basics – Why are They Important?

What’s the value of conducting background checks on potential employees before hiring them? Background checks are a means for employees to shortlist candidates based on their past experiences, legal status, residence permit, and other factors.

These checks are especially important when hiring international employees who may or may not have Visa or other paperwork ready for moving abroad. According to Statista, interviewed employers found some of the following indiscretions when performing a background check for employment through social media:

  • 40% found provocative photos, videos, or information
  • 31% found discriminatory comments related to race, gender, or religion
  • 30% found links to past criminal behavior
  • 27% found that their candidates lied about their qualifications
  • 25% found that their candidates bad-mouthed previous employers or colleagues

Starting a Background Check for Employment

Many candidates would argue against the morality of background checks, but they are a modern necessity, for better or worse. It’s important to refer to a background check for employment as what it is. It is not an invasion of privacy and it doesn’t infringe on anyone candidate’s safety or wellbeing.

According to Cambridge Dictionary, a background check is “a check of what a person has done in the past, usually as part of the process of deciding whether or not to employ them”. Social media platforms have only made the process of conducting background checks more straightforward.

Very few employers will or should eliminate potentially lucrative employees simply due to a social media misunderstanding. Instead, social media background checks should only serve as a means to verify CV data and give employers a rough idea of who the person is.

Any questions, discussion, or negotiation should be done only via an official interview where all cards are set on the table. Let’s discuss the reasons and the “how” of CV background checks so you can use them to your advantage as a prospective employer.

Check your Candidates’ CV Claims

Most professional job candidates understand the importance of a good CV for their employment prospects. The candidate’s CV will give you a good indication of how tidy, objective, and professional they are. You can use their CV as a baseline to search for them on social media platforms, OR, follow up on their provided social media handles. To start with, you should compare a candidate’s CV data to social media profile information.

Are there any red flags to speak of? Is the person claiming to be “John Johnson” the same “John” as in the submitted CV? Most if not all job candidates won’t risk giving false information in their CVs if it is easy to verify via their social media. If you’re sure of who they are, continue with your background check for employment by digging a bit deeper.

Gauge How Fit They Are for the Job Vacancy

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow people to add their bio info and employment status. Go over your candidate’s CV in terms of formal and professional experiences to spot discrepancies if there are any. Keep in mind that a lot of people don’t pay attention to their social media as much as others.

While some post status updates and multimedia daily, others check in once a month if that. Don’t take everything you see on social media for granted but use your best judgment to see how well they’d fit into your company. Again, cross-referencing official CV data with social media findings is the best way to perform a background check for employment and see if the person is fit for your vacancy.

Effectively Eliminate Improper Candidates

The most important reason why you should perform a background check for employment before onboarding candidates is simply to shortlist them. There will undoubtedly be dozens if not hundreds of candidates who apply for your job vacancies between now and the final deadline.

Parsing through all this info for a background check for employment by hand is not only time-consuming but you can hire an inappropriate candidate for the job. Make the time however to go through their social media presence and profiles in your background check for employment. This extra step will give you plenty of data to work with in terms of who is fit or unfit for your vacancy and business culture as a whole. In the end, you will be left with a shortlist of the best candidates to hire which you can then officially invite to interviews.

Handling your Background Check for Employment Properly (Conclusion)

Social media is undoubtedly a useful tool for performing a background check for employment for a new job candidate. However, building a healthy work environment and business culture takes objective thinking and decision-making. Be very mindful of how you interpret what you find on social media. Many of us use Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms as a means to relax after a long hard day.

Data found on social media shouldn’t be taken for granted as it can be deceptive without actually speaking to potential job candidates. Instead of relying on social media to shortlist CVs, use it as a helpful tool to guide you into hiring the right person for the job. Use to create your job listings and start finding talented professionals from around the world to fill your vacancies in the meantime.

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