Webinar - 4 Questions on Social Media & Employment

Last week we hosted a webinar on social media and employment. Our president, Bianca Lager, and our business development manager, Jonny Hawley, focused on the benefits and risks of using social media to vet potential employees. We received several questions towards the end that we just didn’t have time to get to. Here are a few answers to questions we might have missed.

How does an abundance of political posts on social media play a role in this all? Can that information be used for an employment decision?

It seems like just about everyone is discussing politics in one way or another these days. In many states (such as California), political affiliation is considered a protected class. In those instances, we would redact that information from the report. However, if a candidate posted a political statement that included one of our red flags (racism/intolerance, violence, illegal activity, or sexually explicit material), we would take a screenshot of that and include it on the report. For example, we would not flag “I don’t like Hillary Clinton.” We would flag “I don’t like Hillary Clinton because women are stupid and belong in the kitchen making sandwiches.”

What is sexually suggestive content considered? I.e. will a shirtless picture at the beach on social media be flagged as “suggestive”?

This is a good question. We’re frequently asked to explain what we consider to be racist or sexually explicit material. We will go into further detail about our four red flags in an upcoming blog series. In the meantime, here are a few examples of content that we would flag as sexually explicit: a recording of a song referring to sexual acts, nude photos a candidate posted of themselves, any accounts on a pornography site, and if a candidate shared a celebrity sex tape.

What if nothing negative is found on my candidate for employment?

Roughly 10% of the reports that we complete come back with red flag behavior. If we don’t locate any of our red flags after reviewing your candidate’s social media, we’ll send you back a report with a list of sites that we reviewed.

Nowadays so many people have their Facebook account marked as “Private” and no information can be viewed unless you “friend” the person. So what value or benefit is there in hiring a vendor to perform a Social Media check?

It’s true that some people keep their accounts private, but we find that most people don’t. A lot of people who come back with red flag material keep their accounts public because they want to gain followers or make controversial statements to become the next Kardashian figure. Some people keep one of their accounts private but have a public Instagram or Twitter. Facebook changes its privacy policy so frequently that we often find that people’s accounts might be private for a certain period of time (e.g. from 2011-2013), but they might have visible posts from another period of time (e.g. 2014-2016). With that being said, we do not “friend” any candidates to gain access to their private accounts. We also don’t “hack” anyone’s social media that is private. If a candidate’s Facebook is 100% private, we won’t be able to see any of their content. That doesn’t necessarily mean that their blog or other accounts are also private, though.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this Webinar!

Don’t forget to check out our FAQ page if we didn’t get to your question in this webinar! Feel free to send us an email at info@socialintel.com if you have any further questions and visit our How it Works page if you're ready to get started with social media screening for employment decision-making.Contributing author: Caitlin Rogers