Social Media / Web Footprint Analysis Checks
How far have we come?
The World Wide Web has been publically available since 1991. In these years the world has been granted both a tool for increased knowledge and a platform to communicate and express thoughts to other seamlessly.
The main change from back then to now is the level of accessibility to such a large population. With advancements in technology it is quicker and simpler for information to be documented and shared across the globe.
2020 has pushed technology on an even wider audience than before with the global pandemic to the point where it is second nature to the vast majority. According to Statista, the number of social media usage in the UK is forecast to reach 51 million users by 2025.
On a global scale these stats escalate to nearly 50% of the world’s population using social media which is over 3 billion worldwide.
Why is this relevant to you?
With these stats in mind, you can rightfully assume that the person within your organisation, or looking to join your organisation, will have a social media presence. Some bigger than others and some may hold a significant influence within the community.
Social media checks now need to be recognised by employers as a reliable form of data collection with the amount of information listed on a social media profile. This should be looked at with equal importance as employment screening.
If you then look at combining this social media data with a web footprint analysis search you will be able to create a reliable platform of risk analysis all from the data sets found online.
Why should this be seen as important?
Reputation – The reputation of your employees or prospective employees will directly correlate to the reputation of your company. This could be anything from obvious as a media article showing arrests to the less obvious of web profile posts.
Risk – You can source a lot of data held closer to the candidate such as damaging friend circles or demographic groups. This in turn can allow for a better level of risk analysis and risk prevention from involving your organisation with those individuals.
Trust – Todays day and age people are often posting their entire lives online. This allows for you to commit to more in depth levels of cross checking information such as travel periods or gaps in activity.
Behaviour – Social media checks specifically can provide meaningful insights into the behaviour of candidates which could correlate positively or negatively to your organisations values or rules in place.
Why use a professional background screening service?
Using a professional background screening service with a team of experts is increasingly important to protect your organisation. Some key things to take into account as a pro for using a professional background screening service:
Unbiased – You may have a subjective or bias view of your hire based on previously meeting them. Using a professional background screening service allows for an unbiased full picture of the prospective candidates web footprint.
Missing Detail – Taking a summary of data does not provide a full image of the prospective. Enlisting the assistance of an expert or even better an expert team allows you to have the peace of mind that all data will be sourced and provided. This in turn allows you to make a more informed decision.
Confusion – Your in house team may not have the current skill set in hand to analyse the data / information sourced and confirm that it is a 100% match. Having a team with experience rules the chance of this ever happening.
Protection – A professional team will be able to guild your organisation through the appropriate process to carry out the checks themselves to ensure your remain compliant within your actions.
Relevant – Using a professional background screening service over an in house team allows for the professional and work relevant information to remain the top priority and purpose of the check. A hiring manager may have (potentially subconscious) the wrong idea of what the social media check is for and may look into aspects such as their looks or types of posts.
Technology has come a long way since then, and the variety of the information objects we’re managing has changed a lot, but one tenet has remained constant we’ve always focused on the intersection of people, processes, and information. As the Association for Intelligent Information Management, we help organizations put their information to work.It is important to always take any mitigating circumstances in account when receiving the data from a web footprint / social media analysis. Relevancy of the data provided is often misinterpreted into something a lot worse than it actually is. In line with this is also to allow the candidate to have a voice on the data sourced.
You should always be clear with your prospective candidates, a good way to display your practices would be a social media screening policy in which the candidates are made aware and given the opportunity to discuss any details sourced.
If you do decide to run this check then you need to be aware of the specific purpose and reasoning of this type of background check. This allows you coverage for anybody challenging the process and also allows the check to be tailored to the specific needs of your organisation.
Are all negative data sources always negative to your organisation?
If you have somebody posting several pictures that you can see at an environmental riot / protest that may be negative if you’re a banking firm, but possibly just the thing you are looking to see if you are an environmental protection firm.
It’s always important to take context and tailor the specific needs of your organisation to every check you undertake.