A Guide to Social Media Background Checks


When you’re applying for a new job, pre-employment background checks are often part of the process. From credit screenings to criminal records, employers want to ensure that the candidate they are considering is professional and well-suited to the job. But there is one background check in particular that many job seekers are wary of; social media background checks.

Why do recruiters or employers use social media background checks?

Employees want to ensure that prospective employees are suitable for the position and that they are unlikely to post images or posts on social media platforms that can pose risks to the employer. Once employed, social media misconduct by employees can pose risks to the employer, including:

  • Reputational damage
  • Loss of intellectual property
  • IT system and software damage
  • Harassment or discrimination claims

Employers often use search engines and social media to discover information about current and prospective workers, while a large number have resorted to using specialists to ensure a thorough screening process whilst also remaining unbiased and staying on the right side of the law.

For jobseekers, having shared or been included in certain posts and images can potentially damage their chances of finding employment. Of course, employers are not allowed to discriminate against current employees or prospective employees based on information such as gender, age or sexual discrimination.

What information can damage your chances of employment?

Employers often use social media checks to verify information including finding evidence of their qualifications and to ensure that the employee will be a good fit for the company. There are also certain things that can damage your chances of gaining employment.

When on social media, avoid the following:

  • Posting information about past or current employers, especially if it is negative.
  • Sharing provocative, lewd or unsavoury posts or pictures
  • Posting about using drugs or drinking.
  • Posting about criminal behaviour
  • Posting discriminatory comments related to race, religion or gender.

Professional Sourcing has a strong reputation for highly developed recruitment expertise within our specialisation areas. We develop strong long-term relationships with our loyal clients. Allow us to help you deal with your frustrations of a lengthy hiring process.

Professional Sourcing is a top-tier South African-based recruitment agency operating internationally, IPM accredited, LEVEL 2 BEE RATED and 51% Black Owned.

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