Candidates often provide curated versions of themselves on their resumes and in the interview responses, making it difficult to know whether they will function on the job in a manner that is consistent with how they “performed” during the pre-hire process.
Many employers have found that social media checks can offer a useful “look behind the curtain.” They can offer insight into how a candidate talks, acts, and describes himself or herself when not under the watchful eye of a hiring manager.
On the positive side, social media checks can show that a candidate consistently maintains a great attitude, shows gratitude, is a people person, or has a passion for organizations that he or she joins. On the negative side, they can show that a person makes racially insensitive comments, uses illegal drugs, posts disparaging comments about co-workers and/or supervisors, lacks patience, or deals poorly with adverse developments.
Unlike criminal history and credit checks, there are no state laws currently prohibiting employers from running social media screens on candidates before a conditional offer. This means employers can leverage the intelligence gleaned from social media screens to ensure not only a good fit for the position but that this is a person that will contribute positively to the workplace culture.
In short, social media checks can help employers determine whether a candidate can be trusted to fit in with colleagues and customers and carry out responsibilities as expected. Social media screening can also indicate if the candidate will align with their corporate values, ultimately strengthening the workplace culture.