How Social Media Background Checks Affect Job Applications

social-mediaEmployers are now incorporating social media evaluations into their pre-employment background check processes to gauge whether a candidate is right for the position they are applying for. But what exactly do they look for and how does this affect your job applications?

Social media is a platform for sharing your personal life with friends and family. However, everything you choose to share online will always be subject to public scrutiny—especially when you’re on the job hunt.

Here are the main things prospective employers want to find out when they perform social media background checks:

  1. They want to see how professional you are.

We’ve all been guilty of oversharing on social media at some point in our lives. Who hasn’t uploaded photos of wild parties or tweeted snarky comments about their boss at least once? More often than not, you’re bound to have these types of unprofessional content on your social media pages—and they can pose a problem when you’re actively looking for a job.

Aside from content, prospective employers may also check the frequency of your social media activities. If you tend to post frequently during work hours, this can give the impression that you are easily distracted (or lazy) at work—which is clearly a red flag.

A person’s social media presence says a lot about their professionalism, so always be mindful of everything you share in order to project a wholly professional image to prospective employers.

  1. They want to see if you’re a good cultural fit.

How you present yourself on social media can be used to figure out if you’re going to fit in with the current employees and the overall culture of the company. This is extremely important to employers due to the fact that a sense of culture helps foster teamwork and camaraderie. When an employee is not aligned with the company’s culture, it can cause a lot of issues down the road.

While it’s best to keep your social media accounts as clean and professional as possible, it is also important to showcase your hobbies and interests. This will allow your prospective employers to assess whether or not you’ll be a good match for their company.

  1. They want to see whether you have the potential to be a liability.

Social media posts can reveal a lot about your background and who you are as a person, and if prospective employers find red flags that can make you a liability risk to the company, it’s highly likely that they won’t hire you.

An employee’s online reputation can end up tarnishing their company’s good name. But more than that, the company can also be held liable for an employee’s questionable actions, which is why they’re going to want to assess you thoroughly to avoid future legal issues.

Keep your social media profiles free of anything that could be damaging to your own reputation and brand you as a potential liability in the future. This includes bigoted remarks about gender, race, or religion, tasteless photos or online statements, and evidence of anger issues or general bad behavior.

  1. They want to assess your personality.

It’s not advisable to reveal too much on social media, but it’s also not advisable to reveal too little. Some employers also use social media to assess your personality, which they do by looking at what you do for fun, what your interests are, how you interact with others, and more.

Companies want more than just someone who has good credentials—they want someone who will bring more to the company than just their skills. Therefore, don’t be afraid to reveal more about yourself. Showing off your personality (while maintaining professionalism at all times) on social media can help make you more appealing to prospective employers.

  1. They want to verify your credentials.

Employers may also use your social media profile to verify your qualifications. They’ll want to check your credibility by cross-examining your resume with all relevant social media information.

It may seem harmless to “fudge” the school and work portion of your social media profiles in order to seem more impressive to your social connections, but if you’re looking for a job, it’s best to keep your information accurate and professional across the board.

Social media can be a good way to market yourself. If you’re currently looking for a job, start by cleaning up your social media accounts. Make sure each one reflects the image you want employers to see to ensure the highest chance of success.

About the Author:

Alex Gomez is a social media professional who dabbles as a freelance tech writer. This gadget and car enthusiast also plays video games and keeps himself updated on technology news in his spare time

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