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Sunday, July 19, 2015

How Often Does a Background Check Include Social Media?

The following is a guest post from Lisa Green. She can be contacted directly at

The world of social media grows by the second and with every growing second, there are more and more comments, pictures and videos posted that could potentially hinder an applicant's chances of landing their dream job.

Finding a job was once a simple process but now, companies all over are screening their applicants on everything from their criminal history to their driving records, and even their social media presence.

Different types of career fields choose different types of screening that apply specifically to their job requirements and many are now using social media as a way of seeing if an applicant’s personality will mesh well with their current staff.

Jobs That Require Social Media Checks

In 2015, more than 80 percent of companies use social media checks as part of their screening process. For those companies, they say it’s a great way to see what an applicant’s personality type is without directly asking them during an interview process.

Media and entertainment companies use social media screening the most because of their influences on society. Careers in politics, education, and hospitality use social media screening heavily because of applicant’s interactions with the public.

In essence, if an applicant is working with the public or for a business that counts on public image to succeed, social media is almost always a crucial part of hiring.

What Social Media Checks Uncover

During an interview process, an applicant may present themselves professionally and politely to their potential employer. Many interviewers understand it’s a part of the interview process to be polite and professional but an employer still doesn’t get a true sense of an applicant’s personality so they turn to social media screening.

The information on an applicant’s Facebook or Twitter page can reveal a lot about their personality:

Lack of networking – Employers look at who an applicant connects with and what groups they’re a part of. It shows an employer that the applicant is outgoing and willing to interact with people they might not necessarily have had connections with otherwise.

The most difficult part of any career is making connections with those in the workplace and with a weak sense of networking; employers will determine an applicant can’t handle the pressure of meeting new people.
Typos and incomplete profiles -- Continuous typos or incomplete profiles can show an employer that an applicant is inattentive to detail. In careers that require an applicant to write or type, this can be a huge turn off to employers.

A bland profile – Employers want energetic and exciting employees to work for their company. It makes the overall atmosphere a more enjoyable one so when employers see a Facebook or Twitter profile with unenergetic posts or uninteresting pictures, they assume the applicant will only be a stale addition to their team.  

Inappropriate pictures and videos – It’s the quickest way for an employer to exit out of an applicant’s profile and never think about them again for any future position. Those crazy nights at a bar may come back to haunt an applicant because an employer could see them as immature or lacking control in their lives.

In addition, photos or videos that are inappropriate for everyone to see, could potentially come back to haunt not only the employee themselves but their company. Employers think about what a potential applicant’s Facebook presence could do to their company's reputation. No employer wants their employees posting media that could potentially come back and affect their company.

The Right Social Media Screening Partner

Social media can be detrimental to an applicant’s chances at landing the perfect job, which is why being proactive can reduce those chances of not getting hired.

Many times, applicants who know their social media pages are subject to screening by potential employers will take it upon themselves to clean up their social media accounts. They’ll also search for social media screening partners who specialize in analyzing social media pages, so they can ensure nothing will affect their chances of getting a job.