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Social Media Screening

Most businesses will find that hiring a background screening company that is qualified and independent is the best way to get the most useful information about a job candidate's social media behavior while staying in full compliance with the law.

Before you hire a company for social media screening, there are a few things you should think about and questions you should ask.

Are they fully aware of all applicable laws and regulations?

Check to see if they know not only the FCRA and EEOC rules, but also the rules in your state (and, in some cases, your city). Check to see if the company is a legitimate Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), which is required by the FCRA and ensures that the company is following all the rules. Your legal team will be happy to know that the screening firm's findings will not put your company in legal trouble, but will instead help you find bad behavior that could damage your company, your employees, or your customers.

CIC utilizes the only social media CRA to have been successfully reviewed by the FTC. Our process involves AI and FCRA-trained human analysts to focus on problematic online behavior.

Do they only search for data that is available to the public?

Is their investigative strategy completely legal in a court of law? Do they use any tactics that could make you more legally responsible for something? Would they be willing to be investigated or audited by a regulatory agency such as the Federal Trade Commission?

CIC will conduct a social media background check for employers only when they get consent from their job candidates. Then, only publicly available information is reviewed.

Do they limit their searches to the most popular social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter?

Do they only look at LinkedIn and Facebook, or do they go deeper and look for relevant content on less-known platforms?

There are a lot of websites that have useful, legally actionable information, not just Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These include blogs, forums, business listing sites, and dating networks, not just Facebook and Instagram.

CIC's social media search includes public platforms, media sources, websites, and other databases going back as far as 7 years.

Can they guarantee that their social media searches focus on the actual job candidate?

It is one of the biggest risks that businesses face when they don't hire someone because they misidentify them through an online search. Make sure that the background check company takes all the necessary steps to avoid false identification.

CIC investigators have a wealth of experience, including expertise gained in state and federal law enforcement agencies, giving us the distinct advantage of a highly trained, professional investigative firm with vast capabilities to identify individuals and conduct background checks.

Do they ensure that any information discovered that may be legally questionable is removed from the reports they provide you?

It's possible that your company will find out things that could be seen as discriminatory. In the report, make sure that any information that could damage your organization or its top people is removed and not shared with anyone else.

CIC will redact protected class information from the final report, ensuring that no bias is applied to your employment decisions inadvertently.

Is the company only relying on technology, such as software algorithms, or does it use human analysts and researchers to review, confirm, and assess the information it finds out?

Some potentially questionable or objectionable information may be sarcastic, satirical, or parodic, or otherwise be less indefensible than it appears. Make sure you don't rely too much on computer programs or other technology.

CIC conducts research using AI and FCRA-trained human analysts and our screening specialists review all the information thoroughly.

What safeguards does the firm put in place to protect the candidate's privacy?

In addition to minimizing the risk of a lawsuit, it is important to think about the candidate's privacy concerns. After all, you don't want to hire someone who is a real risk to your company. You also want to find someone who will be a good addition to your team. You need to defend yourself, but you also don't want to upset him or her.

CIC reports only publicly available content which has been reviewed for business-related behaviors. Usernames and passwords to social media sites are never requested.

Is the company prepared to show screenshots or carefully document any potentially bad findings?

CIC provides comprehensive social media screening reports. The report is composed with examples of adverse actionable content. This is provided to the employer with a summary of screenshot examples from public profiles.

CIC ensures that the information provided is compliant and can be used in court by redacting protected class information, eliminating the unintentional application of bias to employment decisions.

Social Media and Web-Based Background Checks

Companies seeking to protect their reputations, brands, and financial performance — as well as the safety and well-being of their employees, customers, shareholders, and other stakeholders — can find social media and online screening of prospective employees to be an extremely valuable tool.

Social media screening, like other types of background checks and consumer investigative reports, is regulated by strict rules. These rules make sure that candidates are treated fairly and appropriately. Fortunately, if you follow a few simple rules and hire an independent, ethical, and legally compliant professional firm to do your investigation, you can be sure that your actions are beneficial, ethical, and legal while still being in line with your organization's core values.

CIC provides a social media search tool that focuses on bad online behavior and gives you detailed, easy to read reports. CIC uses software automation and social media experts to look at a candidate's online activity and give you an FCRA-compliant report that you can use to make a hiring decision.

Find Out How to Get Started


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For more information about this article, or general Employment Screening Services, please contact us at 1.800.573.2201 / 419.874.2201.

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Do you have an urgent issue to discuss with an Investigator? Please contact us by phone at 1.800.573.2201.