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Social Media Screening is essential for all employers

Updated: Nov 13

Your employees are your biggest asset, but also your biggest risk.

As technology has become more central to our lives over the years, screening a candidate’s social media prior to employment has become essential for many organizations across industry and government. More work than ever is now done virtually and from remote locations. Without proper vetting of your employees online personas, organizations are opening themselves up to a multitude of risks. This is where social media screening plays a critical role in detecting potentially risky behaviors or identifying those employees which creates a toxic work environment for the company. But beyond just a hit to your culture or morale, there are real risks that traditional background checks fail to address.


We are seeing an explosion of defamation cases, workplace harassment, discrimination, and what your employees say online could make you liable. And this damage to your reputation can often lead to lost customers, revenues and even your employees. Existing screening approaches fail to answer critical questions such as, is this employee a good fit with our team, how have they spoken about past employers publicly, and how do they treat others?


We also know that high turnover and toxic employees can affect your team's morale and cost you more than you think. When we consider the costs of turnover and factoring in indirect costs such as recruiting, training, reduced morale and productivity these costs can exceed $240K per employee according to SHRM.


As an employer, you should be able to answer the question are employees acting in a professional manner around customers and other employees? You will not get an answer to this question from a traditional background check. Social media screening can also identify potential workplace violence incidents before they take place. And lastly, Insider threats cost companies billions of dollars per year and we know from various studies that about one-third of those breaches are performed by insiders. Companies spend greatly on cyber-security but often neglect employee monitoring as a preventative measure.

It’s anticipated there will be over 4.5 Billion social media users in just a few short years – almost half of the world’s population. Social media is how people connect, share information, consume their news and entertainment – and often how they get their next job.

Besides screening potential candidates prior to the job offer, it is also essential for you to rescreen your existing employees on a periodic basis. An employee who may have been the perfect hire when they joined the company may no longer align with company values, guidelines, and culture. The posts made once an employee is hired and considered in good standing with the organization may not reflect current situations in their lives that could impact their individual performance or put the company into a risky situation with other employees or customers. Without continuous screening, a company may never know about one of these until it is too late.

You are liable for what your employees say online.

In summary, employee risk as it relates to culture, safety, insider threats and reputation has never been greater. You are liable for what your employees say online. We recommend you use an FCRA compliant provider for your social media screening for both pre-employment and continuous screening to mitigate these risks. Applications like Ferretly make the process consistent, thorough, efficient and unbiased. Ultimately, it will allow you to increase the probability of obtaining employees who align with your organization’s goals, guidelines, and culture and reduce the risk of a bad hire.