Pros and Cons of a Social Media Background Check

background check social mediaApproximately 79% of Americans had an online social media presence in 2019. That number has likely soared due to Covid conditions, so finding info via social media seems like a no-brainer. However, there are pros and cons especially when it comes to running background checks and social media scans for business purposes. So be careful to thoroughly weigh the following and at least know what you’re getting into before jumping headfirst into social media background checks.

You Can Discover Illegal or Violent Behavior

Most background checks focus on criminal activity. But a clear criminal record isn’t a guarantee of legal or non-violent behavior. A few issues in the far past may be easily understood. But discovering recent altercations, domestic abuse, and recent run-ins with authority via social media postings can be serious red flags you might not find elsewhere.

Social Media Screening Can Verify Professional Experience

LinkedIn is one of the web’s best resources for professional networking, and it can provide loads of quick info you may need for a potential hire. This is especially true if the candidate has recommendations from previous employers, educators, or other work-related associates.

Social Media Background Checks Are Fast and Inexpensive

Unlike many other checks, Google can lead right to most people’s social media accounts. A current HR department employee can usually access enough information to clear any red flags or at least verify important experience verification with a few clicks. Of course, there are limitations and cons to consider as well.

Social Media Reliability Can Be Dodgy

Not everyone uses social media the same way, and many accounts are easily fluffed or even hacked to provide unreliable information on the account user. In fact, according to national statistics, approximately 22% of social media users say their accounts have been hacked, and 14% admit to being hacked more than once. On top of that, not all posts are made by the user. Friends, old connections, and exes can provide unexpected and confusing information that contradicts professional expectations or otherwise confuses the reader.

You Could End Up In a Rabbit Hole

Unique names and residential locations can help you find the right social media user in no time flat. But if you’re looking for a Bob Jones, Mary Smith, or Mike Johnson, good luck! Privacy settings can also make it hard, if not impossible, to find specific information if their accounts aren’t public or if you don’t already have mutual connections.

Personal Bias Can Easily Come Into Play

Approximately 43% of employers currently use social media background checks to help screen for potential employers, and that’s perfectly legal as long as it’s done correctly. But when human nature sets in, personal bias can come into the picture and unfairly affect the outcome. Social media users often disclose personal info such as their race, gender, religious affiliations, political leanings, and sexual preferences right on their accounts either through words or images. If those details don’t interfere with the candidate’s job duties and yet the checker’s biases interfere in the hiring process, your company can face a legal battle. Avoid the trouble altogether and let the right Michigan private investigator handle the background check.


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