Questions to ask your background screening company before running social media searches

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In one of our recent blog posts, we clarified some common misconceptions surrounding social media background checks. In addition to answering some of the questions that we field most frequently, we also thought of a few questions that companies should be asking. We've shared some of these Should Ask Questions below.

What you should be asking your background screening company


  • Are your reports FCRA compliant?

This is a critical issue because compliance to the FCRA means the company adheres to identity resolution strategies, conducting investigations that do not go beyond seven years, and can assist in the adverse action process. 

  • Do you hide protected class information?

A protected class is defined as "a group of people with a common characteristic who are legally protected from employment discrimination on the basis of that characteristic." There are Federally and State protected classes which include gender, race, religion, and many others. It is a best practice to hide this information on a social media report to protect your company from discrimination lawsuits, and to protect the candidate's privacy.

  • What do your reports reveal?

Social Media reports should reveal potential red flags on candidates. The goal is not to see how they spend their free time or what their social lives are like. Rather, the purpose is to figure out whether the applicant will be a risk to the company.

  • Do you require consent?

The FCRA requires that employers get written consent from their employees or applicants before any consumer reports are conducted. The candidate has the right to know if a background check is being completed on them. Therefore, this should be a requirement of your vendor.

  • Do you help with adverse action?

If a social media hiring report comes back with negative material, the company that ordered the report will have to decide whether they want to move forward with hiring the applicant. The FCRA has requirements in place regarding the steps that an employer must take before sending notice of adverse action. More details about that process can be found here.  

Check back next week for part two of this series. We'll focus on questions you should be asking your company's HR department before running social media searches.


Contributing author: Caitlin Rogers