Why Is HR Scared of Social Media Background Checks?

social media background check

We’ve talked to many HR professionals and Private Investigators who work with clients for employment purposes. What we hear most often is that they would love to include social and online research as part of their background check but are afraid to do so. They focus on what they hear in mainstream media – social media/online background checks are inviting a lawsuit, and companies don’t want to take a risk or be liable should a disgruntled candidate argue their case for discrimination, etc.

What many in the industry don’t know is that there are full on social media/online research services available, but those are not geared toward HR. In fact, there is a separate program designed specifically for pre-employment background checks.

This social/online research focuses on only negative content in relation to very specific topics, such as

  • Racist, Sexist, or Discriminatory Behavior
  • Sexually Explicit Material
  • Threats or Acts of Violence
  • Potentially Illegal Activity

It also complies with FCRA guidelines, which is critical. As HR professionals know, there are many aspects of an individual’s life that absolutely cannot be factored into the decision-making process, otherwise known as protected classes. Some examples include gender, marital status, religious affiliation, race, and parental status. It gets tricky because there are some factors that are state specific as far as not being allowed to be seen/considered as part of the hiring process. The laws can get further muddied for nationwide companies who are hiring outside of the state they are hiring employees in – at this point, which set of state specific laws apply?

Given all of the intricacies of pre-employment screening, it’s no wonder HR departments are very slow to adopt social media/online research as part of their decision-making process.

eChatter has developed a scan just for this industry/area of need. The pre-employment social/online research services take every factor into consideration to make sure that the clients we work for stay compliant on a federal and state level. Furthermore, we ensure that you never see what you shouldn’t see by redacting the information – the report turns up only relevant content that can be portrayed as negative and a detriment to the person’s employment with your company. When important content is identified, the report will only show those pieces of content. If nothing is found that falls into what can be legally obtained/considered when making hiring decisions, a “no pertinent information found” report is filed, meaning there is nothing of concern regarding the candidate.

With these protections in place, HR professionals can easily include social media and online content as part of their candidate screening. It’s as simple as filling out a form, providing as much information about an individual as in know – in the case of pre-employment scans, submitting the candidate’s resume is a great help – and letting eChatter take care of the rest, from conducting the research to keeping the layers of protection in place.

Want to know about using social/online content for pre-employment screening? Feel free to take a look at our website or send us an email for more information. We’re happy to answer any questions and show you how social/online research can be a valuable piece in the hiring process.