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Common Misconceptions about Social Media Searches


Research shows that the majority of employers do some level of Social Media searching as part of the recruitment and screening process; some do it formally while others have a quiet, behind the scenes approach. Still, for others, a lot of mystery surrounds the concept of examining a candidate’s online persona. Here are some common myths as well as the truth about using Social Media:

1. It’s an invasion of privacy. No one is hacking into accounts or forcing someone to give up their passwords. That’s actually illegal in many states. Just like any other part of a background check for employment purposes, employers must first obtain consent and only publicly available content is reviewed.


2. It’s best if HR does this in-house. Even a quick look at a Facebook or Instagram site can reveal religious affiliation, sexual orientation, age and other information you don’t want to be part of the hiring process and cannot unsee once you’ve viewed it. A professional screening company will make sure you don’t see personal information that could get you sued if you don’t hire the person.


3. I’m better off not knowing. Traditional background check reports provide one important piece of the puzzle. If your candidate has no criminal record for theft, but brags about shoplifting online, that’s another piece of the puzzle. Clients set filters and we search only for what is of concern to them: Violence, racial intolerance, sexually explicit material, badmouthing a current or former employer and more are definitely things that can and should be part of your hiring decision.

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