What are the Pros & Cons of Social Media Screening?


Last Updated: August 30, 2022
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What is Background Screening?

Background screening is a pre-employment technique that aims to inform employers by verifying an employee’s background. It’s to ensure that they’re hiring people who are trustworthy, reasonable, and capable of doing the job.

Social media is no longer just about posting pictures of pets, sharing memes or looking up old friends from school or college. Today, it is slowly becoming a part of the world of recruitment. In fact, a report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) revealed that most recruiters use social media to vet candidates before an interview.

Granted social media has become a popular medium through which to assess candidates, but is it the best way to do so? To help you figure this out, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons that will help you decide whether or not to use social media to screen your prospective candidates.

The Pros:

1. Finding the Right Fit

Laptop on a desk

When you look for candidates, you don’t just look for someone who is qualified, you also look for those who will fit in with your company culture. This helps you ensure better overall productivity and retention to an extent. To help you with this, a social media screening can come in very handy as you can tell a lot about a person from their social media accounts – their outlook towards life, their personality, etc. – which can help you find the right fit for your company.

2. Validating Resumes

Before information was so readily available aka before the era of social media, there were very limited and time-consuming means to validate the contents of a candidate’s resume. But with social media, this has become a whole lot easier. Most people tend to post some information or the other about where they work, their achievements, etc. You can easily access this information and verify it against what they’ve stated in their resumes.

3. Providing Background Checks

Person writing in a diary

One way a social media screening really helps is by letting you weed out candidates whose attitudes might harm your organisation. Since social media has become a place to share opinions, it is also a great place to find candidates who are trouble-makers or promote hate. You can look out for signs like derogatory comments about past co-workers and employers, sexist or casteist comments or any kind of hate speech.

4. Knowing the Candidates Better

Social media like LinkedIn can also come in handy thanks to its “recommendations” section. A lot of times, candidates may not be able to secure recommendation letters or not think they’re valuable enough to add it to their resumes. Going through their LinkedIn profiles can help you find out about what their previous employers or co-workers think of them and accordingly find someone who perfectly fits the mould you’re looking to fill


The Cons:

1. Only Relying on Social Media

Social media & phone

While social media may be a great way to vet candidates, it shouldn’t be your only way. Simply because not everyone is as active or even active on social media. It shouldn’t be that you skip out on a candidate because you can’t find them on social media and end up losing a valuable addition to your workforce.

2. Result in Discrimination

The problem with accessing personal information about a candidate is that it may lead to you subconsciously discriminating against them. Say for instance you were looking up a candidate and through their social media you find out they are a fan of the rival football team. After learning this, you may not be as keen about that candidate as you were and bring in an unnecessary bias to your hiring process.

3. Inaccurate Information

Woman working on laptop

Social media, today, has become a sort of statement of success. People believe that if you’re doing well in life, you need to show it. If you don’t show it, your life is probably not great. This has led to people portraying an exaggerated version of their lives. Knowing this, it becomes difficult to figure out whether the information you’re accessing about a candidate is the truth or not.

4. There Is Too Much Information

Most people joined social media platforms much earlier in life, and thus, have information going all the way back to school and college. Owing to this, there is too much information you need to go through before you find anything relevant amongst all the selfies and food pictures. This can be extremely time-consuming and sometimes futile.

As David D’Souza, Head of CIPD in London says, “The traditional recruitment journey has tended to rely on both the organisation and the individual making selective disclosures of information that they believe would impress. Now, more information is available for the candidate and the organisation than ever before, and there are obvious benefits to the transparency that can be gained through the appropriate use of social media.”

We hope this article could give you some insights into whether or not you should include social media while recruiting!

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