3 Key Insights You Can Learn from a Social Media Background Screen

Pre-employment background checks are all about understanding behavior. For example, does the person use illegal drugs? Does the person drive recklessly? Does the person steal—or worse?

Effective background checks investigate and report on those behaviors. Think drug tests, MVR checks, and criminal record checks (to name just a few). The results provide HR managers with essential intel as they make hiring decisions.

But notice that the behaviors described above—and their corresponding background checks—are all about specific actions (doing drugs, speeding, stealing).

What about those behaviors that are tied more closely to who the person is, meaning how they think, what they believe, and how they treat people? Historically, these behaviors—the ones that speak to a person's true character—have been impossible to measure through traditional background screening.

Until recently.

Why social media background screens are essential to understanding a person's true nature

Today, the majority of people are active on some form of social media. (According to Statista, 82 percent of the population in the United States had a social networking profile in 2021.) This regular online activity can provide a lens into character behaviors that have historically been hard to measure.

But is it an accurate lens? Psychology Today says, "Despite opportunities to control what we post and curate an idealized image, research suggests that for the most part, social media profiles reflect people's actual personalities, not idealized versions of themselves."

When you perform social media background screens as part of your pre-employment background check process, you can gain insights into a person's character, including behavior that might raise a red flag. Is the person a Holocaust denier? Does the person regularly share white supremacist propaganda? Does the person use obscene language—or share memes with such language? Does the person threaten violence?

Bottom line: The findings gleaned from a social media background check can offer the hiring manager more valuable intel, specifically in three key areas:

Behavior that could put your company at risk

Risk can come in many forms: bad PR, low workplace morale, litigation, and increased insurance premiums. And yes, how people act on social media can influence all of the above. For example, this article details 47 incidents of healthcare workers posting inappropriate videos of patients to social media sites. Can you imagine the backlash and lawsuits if this were your business?

Behavior that doesn't align with or reflect your brand

Imagine your company provides emergency medical services and one of your EMTs claims to treat people of color differently. Obviously, that's not behavior that aligns with your brand's values of healing and helping all people, right?

Behavior that could alienate coworkers, customers, or both

As an employer, you want to create a safe environment for your employees—one free of toxic behaviors that could lower morale. Likewise, if your employees regularly interact with customers—a retail shop, for example—you want to have confidence in the people you've hired to interact with the public.

Keep in mind that "traditional" background checks, like criminal screens and drug tests, will only get you so far. A compliant social media background check will fill in the gaps that those other checks leave behind. This will enable HR managers to hire people who won't put your company at risk, who do reflect your company's values, and who will be a good culture fit in the workplace.

How Good Egg's social media background screen works

Our social media background check solution scours a person's online activity and compliantly identifies and flags the following behaviors:

1. Hate Speech

2. Insults and Bullying

3. Narcotics

4. Obscene Language

5. Self-Harm

6. Threat of Violence

7. Toxic Language

8. Drug-Related Images

9. Explicit/Racy Images

10. Violent Images

Notice our emphasis on compliance. That's critical. HR managers should not attempt to research candidates' social media activity. Instead, work with a company like Good Egg that understands compliance.

Our solution is compliant with EEOC, FCRA, and state privacy laws. We redact protected class information (like race, color, age, sex, religion, and disability). You get the insights you need to make better hiring decisions while protecting the job candidate's right to privacy.

You should also keep in mind that people's behavior can change over time. Consider the radicalization that took place during the pandemic. The employee who seemed like a good culture fit a few years ago might suddenly be sharing extremist views online. Wouldn't you want to know that? Of course you would. Social media monitoring can help you catch troubling behaviors when they're in simmering mode rather than boiling over into the workplace.

Need help navigating social media background screens?

We'd love to give you a tour of our solution. Get in touch and request a demo.

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Mariah Barr

Posted by Mariah Barr

Mariah Barr is the Content Marketing Writer at Good Egg. She's played a few roles in her professional life, but they’ve always involved writing interesting and informative pieces. Outside of work you can find her walking her dog or working on a DIY home improvement project.

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