It never fails to amaze us that people don't realize that their inappropriate social media posts will come back to haunt them someday. It also never fails to amaze us that many brands don't have a formal social media screening policy in place. Or worse—they do the social media screening themselves and then TALK ABOUT THE RESULTS online.
What could possibly go wrong, right?
As it turns out, a lot.
Consider a couple of recent headlines...
According to the article, "Imoo appeared to endorse anti-Black and transphobic ideologies, while also supporting right-wing conspiracies and support for the insurrection on Capitol Hill in January. He also supported anti-vaccination sentiments."
The article goes on to say the Maple Leafs acknowledged that it "made the mistake of failing to 'thoroughly' follow organizational protocols when making the decision to hire Imoo."
Now, we don't have any insight into what those protocols entail. But we’re thinking a formal social media policy might not have been among them. Because a thorough and compliant social media screen that's run by a reputable third party (like Good Egg) would have flagged this sort of problematic content, which would have given hiring managers time to review and discuss.
The big take-away: Social media background checks are a smart and economical way to avoid embarrassing PR headaches like this one.
Now, this was a truly interesting story—and a cautionary tale for all employers. According to the article, the applicant in question "discovered that the potential employer was using her personal social media posts against her"—specifically a shot of the applicant wearing a bikini.
Again, we can only speculate what happened, and we'll resist doing that. But we will say this: If you're going to run pre-employment social media screenings (which we recommend), do not conduct the screenings on your own. Meaning, don't casually browse an applicant's Instagram or Twitter feeds.
First, it's a waste of your time. You can't possibly vet every post a person has ever made. Second, you need an objective view of materials.
Our social media screening solution uses lightning fast artificial intelligence (AI). The AI is designed to recognize problematic content (like racism or graphic nudity) versus what's acceptable (like someone wearing a bathing suit at the beach). We serve up a report that only gives you actionable items—and redacts all personal details. This is compliance 101.
You get the insights you need to make better hiring decisions, while protecting the job candidate's right to privacy. And everything is delivered quickly and cost-effectively.
That's a win-win for everyone.
Work with a reputable screening company to help you navigate murky gray areas.
Regarding the bikini photo incident above . . . SHRM makes a good point in its article What to Do When a Job Candidate's Social Media Triggers Red Flags. The article rightly points out that it's "not illegal to disqualify a candidate for a social media profile that doesn't fit the organization's brand." It's HOW you go about it that can get you into trouble.
Like everything else, your screenings must comply with the law, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This is why it makes sense to outsource pre-hire screenings to a reputable third-party that specializes in compliant background checks, like Good Egg. (We have in-house counsel precisely for the "gray" areas, such as the nuances of political speech.)
Bottom line: Don't go it alone. If you want to include social media screenings as part of your pre-hire strategy (which you should—see the first story above), do it the right way. Good Egg can help. We know the law, and we have a speedy service that gets the job done right.