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All You Need to Know about Social Media Background Checks

There is no doubt that the new digital age is reshaping our future and the future of the workplace. Not only are people extremely reliant on technology, but social media and the Internet have become very big factors influencing searches in the job market.

With over 3 billion people using social media worldwide, social media background checks are becoming more and more prevalent. Patricia Koekemoer, Managing Director of Professional Sourcing, explains social media background checks as “a new “tool” that employers use to check out everything about a person’s online presence before hiring.”

Many employers use search engines and social media to discover information about current and prospective employees. It appears as if they are going beyond merely contacting references.

In some cases, the information obtained from social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, has been used for firing existing employees or prevented the hiring of certain new candidates.

There is not a shadow of a doubt that the exploding use of social media has put a large amount of interesting information in the public eye. A legitimate reason to use the web for background checks is to see how applicants present themselves to the public.

Although some people believe that the private life of a potential employee should not interfere with their professional life, most HR or managers have contrary thinking when hiring candidates. Online profiles can reveal a great deal of information about a person, both positive and negative.

A social media background check can be as simple as scrolling through a person’s Facebook profile or as complex as hiring someone to conduct an exhaustive search of all online information sources.

There has been an increase in the hiring of third-party social media screening businesses. They are generally recommended to businesses as their searches only focus on the relevant information that relates to the job and workplace safety.

Most people don’t even think twice with their Facebook, Tumbler or Instagram updates. Patricia advises job seekers to “be careful what you post online, as it can influence your professional career opportunities.”

Increasing your privacy settings or thinking more carefully about your social media activities can be the keys to avoiding possible trouble. Just think about it: your current or next job could be at stake!

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

Our agency specialises in professional placements (senior and specialist talent) and exclusive skills recruitment to a wide range of industries, including JSE’s top 100 companies, SMEs and the Public Sector. -- Patricia Koekemoer

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