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Interview With the Experts: What You Need to Know About Social Media Screening

By Lindsey Twigg on 7 Oct 2019
  • social media background checks

Recently, our President Bianca Lager sat down with Reputation Communications, a leading crisis and reputation management firm to give them the inside scoop on the social screening industry. As a premiere firm that deals with high-profile personal branding, privacy, and reputation risk on the daily, they were curious about what we find as purveyors of a different kind of reputation management.

Read the original interview here, or check out a few highlights below:

Most folks aren’t careful with their online content:

In the age of social media, most people are either 1) interested in becoming an influencer or 2) unaware of how to manage their privacy settings, so most if not all of their privacy settings get set to public. This means that anyone--including prospective employers concerned about protecting their brand reputation--can view whatever they please.

Daily, we are surprised by the content we see online. Shock value is sometimes an aim users have. I can speculate some do it intentionally to seek attention. Another reason for shocking content is the lack of attention devoted to who their audience is and whether their accounts are public or private. For example, Facebook has a lot of settings. You can decide with every post whether the content you share will be public. Some people don’t spend the time they should learning how their privacy settings work.

Often, social media users do not realize their accounts could be viewed, evaluated and assessed by decision-makers in their professional worlds. This could be problematic or even detrimental for them.

Grooming is underrated:

Taking steps to have a well-groomed social media presence maintains an individual’s personal reputation and ultimately can help prove to their employer that they are a trustworthy individual. Self-implementing those standards and boundaries isn’t hard. It just takes a little forethought:

In addition to evaluating whether they need a public social media presence, they should give care to the context of what they are saying and how it might be perceived by someone who is not part of their network. They should ask themselves:

How does this behavior impact my workplace? Might it be seen as controversial? If it were said out loud in the office would it cause concern?

Represent your ethical values in a positive way. Avoid creating a hostile and unpleasant work environment. Consider making your accounts private.

Most employers perform some sort of screening:

It’s 2019 and most employers are actually beginning to rely on social media to authenticate or screen a candidate--especially if the whole hiring process is happening online and/or remotely.

70% of employers in the U.S. report that they use social media to review online behavior in today’s digital world, but most are screening candidates’ social media in an inefficient or illegal way. It’s a legal requirement for any business to receive consent to conduct a background check for employment purposes, and that includes applying online information to a hiring decision. A third-party is needed to ensure the privacy of the candidate and mitigate any risk of discrimination accusations against your team.

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Questions or concerns about your own personal online activity? Want to know more about employers are and are not allowed to do with your social media presence? Check out our blog series Ask an Analyst for answers to all your burning questions...