As the country reopens from pandemic lockdown and more and more companies relax their hiring freezes, one background check in particular will be a must on a go-forward basis: the social media background check.
Why? Here are three reasons:
1. Social media usage has increased dramatically since the pandemic began—along with an increase in troubling online behavior.
An article in The New Yorker discusses the "rise of coronavirus hate crimes," and notes that, historically, pandemics have often intensified discrimination against minorities. CNN echoes these findings, citing research that shows a surge in anti-Asian racism online during the coronavirus pandemic.
Much of that discrimination plays out publicly on places like Twitter and Facebook, so being able to understand how applicants have been behaving on these platforms, especially over the last five months, will be an important piece of information when making hiring decisions.
A compliant social media background check can give you this intelligence.
2. As an employer, you have a responsibility to create a safe, non-toxic workplace for your employees—even during global pandemics.
Twenty years ago, the criminal background check served as the gold standard for helping employers achieve this goal. And don't get us wrong: criminal history checks are still relevant today. But criminal background checks only consider a person's past—and it only reports on crimes.
Criminal history checks won't tell you if the person you're about to hire is an online bully. Or that they've been using increasingly toxic or obscene language in the last several months. But a social media background check CAN report these findings.
This level of insight will help you create a safer workplace and avoid making bad hires—bad hires that could cost your company big bucks in terms of lost productivity, bad press, and negligent retention lawsuits.
3. Social media background checks can help separate the wheat from the chaff during a frantic labor market.
It's hard to believe that only a year ago, employers were facing stiff competition from other employers—meaning in order to land an awesome candidate, you needed to offer candidates a swift hiring process and a great candidate experience to boot before your competitors swooped in and snagged them.
You still need to offer candidates a great, fast experience, but the added challenge now is this: you're going to have many more applicants to sort through as people clamor for jobs due to record unemployment caused by COVID-19.
As we all know, applicants always present themselves in the best possible light on their resumes, which sometimes results in people fudging the facts. Things like education and license verifications will be increasingly important now. But verifications can only go so far, since they only confirm details.
What about a person's character—that important and often intangible thing that can arguably have the biggest impact on a workplace? Again, that's where social media background checks can play a huge role.
Our social media background check service flags the following problematic content:
- Hate Speech
- Insults and Bullying
- Obscene Language
- Threat of Violence
- Toxic Language
- Drug-Related Images
- Explicit/Racy Images
- Violent Images
Our social media screening doesn't just flag behaviors you don't want infiltrating the workplace, either. It can also provide positive insights because it can capture online articles or posts about the person that might not necessarily be negative.
For example, perhaps the applicant organized a food drive during the pandemic and their efforts were featured in an online publication. That sort of info would tell you a lot about the person's character, right?
You can also customize your reports, which can be helpful when certain words or buzz phrases might provide additional intel. For example, so many people are using Zoom right now. Customizing the social media report so it searches on the word "Zoom" could bring up helpful info, either positive (e.g., "I love Zoom! It's making me so much more productive") or negative (e.g., "I love Zoom because I can mute myself and turn off the camera and no one knows I'm taking a nap during the meeting").
Bottom line: If you want to create an effective background check strategy post-COVID, you need to consider adding social media screening to the mix as an essential component.