How To Integrate Social Media Screening Into Your Hiring Process - CheckSocial

Screening your candidates’ social media and other online activity with digital footprint checks allows you to thoroughly assess each candidate to ensure they’re the best fit for your organisation.

Before you get started, it’s important to consider if you have all of the necessary processes and policies in place, have decided when to run your checks, and understand how to action the findings in your reports.

This blog provides an overview of how to integrate social media checks into your hiring process, and answers our most frequently asked questions on how to do so.

What does my organisation need in place before doing social media screening?

Most organisations make the decision to implement social media screening, or digital footprint checks, to ensure new hires are aligned with their values and workplace culture.

In order to do that, there are 5 things you should review ahead of running your first check.

1. Organisational values

As a HR professional, there’s no doubt you live and breathe your organisation’s values. You understand they’re more than slogans and are fundamental to every decision you make.

Review your organisation’s values and ask yourself:

  • Are our values clearly outlined, understood and “lived” by employees at all levels?
  • Are they embedded in our policies, systems and processes?
  • Does our internal culture reflect our values?

Depending on your answers, you may need to further refine your values so that they can act as a reference point and inform how you use your digital footprint check reports once they are in place.

2. Employee code of conduct

Your code of conduct should set expectations for how your values are put into practice. The document should clearly outline the behaviours staff need to adhere to in order to cultivate a positive and healthy workplace culture.

In today’s digital age, your code of conduct should incorporate the potential issues that can arise from how employees engage with social media and other online forums.

3. Social media policy

Social media policies guide employees on how they conduct themselves on social media, whether in a professional or personal capacity.

Having this policy in place will help mitigate risk, by ensuring employees understand how their online behaviour has the potential to negatively impact your organisation’s reputation.

Your policy can include details on:

  • What work-related content employees are permitted to share online
  • How they can identify themselves as employees (for example, listing their employer on their personal accounts)
  • Behaviour and etiquette standards are tied to your wider values and code of conduct.
4. Knowledge of relevant laws

Before putting digital footprint checks into place, you should review your rights and obligations as an employer under the relevant laws.

What your employees post online, how you conduct background checks, and how you use any information you find about a candidate or employee is subject to different laws related to defamation, discrimination, privacy and more.

When it comes to using online data during the hiring process, we sometimes hear of concerns about privacy and potential discrimination. At CheckSocial we’re passionate about protecting your candidates, and your organisation, from these issues.

We have measures in place to protect privacy, by always obtaining candidate consent, and never using any form of hacking or deceptive methods to obtain data. To avoid any discrimination, we remove all protected attributes from our reports, such as age, ethnicity, disability and religion.

5. Business case

You may be asked to create a business case before adopting digital footprint checks.

While the benefits to your organisation’s culture and reputation are clear, it’s also possible to calculate an estimated return on investment and communicate the financial benefits of the checks.

You can read how to do this, and download a free ROI calculator, on our blog post Are Social Media Checks Worth the Cost?

human resources staff reviewing social media

When should I run digital footprint checks?

There are three times you may choose to implement digital footprint checks, each with their own benefits.

After shortlisting applicants
During background checks
Before promoting current staff
Timing Run after shortlisting applicants, ahead of interview Run after interview, when conducting other background checks such as reference checks Run when considering the promotion of employees who have not previously been screened

Higher confidence in shortlisted candidates and reduced time interviewing potential bad hires.

Higher cost due to a higher volume of checks.

Potential lower overall hiring costs, due to reduced opportunity costs.

Increased time interviewing candidates unlikely to be hired after the screening process.

Lower cost due to a lower volume of checks.

Likely higher overall hiring costs due to wasted efforts during the interview process.

Can integrate with other background checking systems, such as Xref.

Increased confidence in decision

Promote high trust employees, over potentially toxic leaders

Discovery of staff not aligned with organisational values


What happens after submitting a report request?

Once you enter your candidate details into the CheckSocial platform, our process is made up of 5 steps.

  1. Candidate consent is confirmed and personal details are captured
  2. CheckSocial’s AI system conducts a search
  3. Discovered content is classified into categories
  4. Expert analysts perform a human triage
  5. The report is delivered within 3 business days

How do I review my report and action any findings?

When reviewing your reports, it’s important to assess the candidate against the items outlined earlier, and any others you deem to be relevant.

  • Does the candidate align with your organisational values? Do any of the findings indicate discriminatory, unprofessional or criminal behaviour?
  • Is the candidate likely to adhere to your code of conduct? Do the findings indicate any potential risks they may pose to employees, customers or your organisation’s reputation?
  • Is the candidate likely to adhere to your social media policy? Could they put your organisation at risk with their online activity?

How you then action any findings will depend on when in the hiring process you are conducting digital footprint checks.

If you opt to implement checks ahead of interviews, you can use the report’s findings to determine the types of questions you ask the candidate.

In any instance, when content has been flagged in a report, it can be discussed openly and transparently with the candidate to help you to understand the context of the findings.

Digital footprint checks are a powerful tool for providing insights into your candidates’ attitudes, interests, values and behaviours. When used in conjunction with the other steps of your hiring process, such as interviews and reference checks, they allow for a whole-of-person assessment to inform your hiring decisions.

Download a free sample report

To get an example of what a digital footprint check looks like, the information they include and types of content they flag, you can download a free sample report.

The 23-page sample includes:

  • A Candidate Risk Score and Cultural Fit Assessment
  • An outline of our cultural fit indicators
  • Examples of content that indicate discriminatory, unprofessional and criminal behaviours
  • Examples of other candidate insights

Download a FREE Sample Digital Footprint Check