Social Media Background Check vs. Pre-Employment Screening — Which is Better?

Posted on 10.23.2019

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How do social media screenings factor into the pre-employment background check process?

According to a recent study, 60% of employers say they always screen potential hires’ social media to uncover behavourial issues.

Some companies might think that just reviewing candidates’ social media profiles is enough during the pre-employment process. However, there is a lot that can go wrong if this is your primary way of screening candidates.

First, social media profiles are notoriously hard to verify. You need to be certain that you are looking at the correct profile, which is sometimes hard to do, especially if the profile is set to private. It is also easy for social media profiles to be falsified – for instance, someone might have set up a copycat account, so even if the account you are screening looks like the real person, it might not be them.

The only way to truly know if it is the candidates’ correct profile is for them to provide you with the URL, which could also present issues if they falsify the information or have a secret account they don’t disclose.

Second, social media checks open employers up to potential discrimination and liability.

What if you find an incriminating post and then it is deleted? Or if there is something on the page that is open to interpretation? You need to be very clear on what you are assessing in a candidate’s social media and make sure that it is relevant to the role you are hiring for and not something that is opening you up to liability.

Background checks, on the other hand, rely on facts and verification processes.

Third, social media checks can be unfair. If Candidate A is very active online but Candidate B keeps a low social presence, that doesn’t necessarily mean Candidate B is the better choice, or vice versa. Or Candidate A may have profiles on six different social media platforms while Candidate B is only on one. So, is it fair to compare the two?

With a background check you are looking at the same records for candidates, so the process is objective and transparent.

Finally, social media doesn’t include everything, especially as your hiring due diligence requires. Candidates aren’t likely to post about getting caught stealing, for instance. And even if they have a LinkedIn profile with past jobs listed, they might have left out the roles they were fired from. It doesn’t tell the whole story, and, in fact, it may not even tell a story at all.

HR Dive reported on a survey by JDP that found that nearly 50% of the 2,007 respondents said they have removed posts or whole profiles to protect their professional image. 40% have opened an alias account. And 43% use privacy settings to hide material they don't want revealed to employers or co-workers.

In the debate of social media background checks vs. pre-employment screenings, pre-employment checks are the clear winner.

With a pre-employment screening from Triton Canada, you can quickly verify:

  • Criminal background check.
  • Driver’s abstract.
  • Employment history.
  • Educational history.
  • Credit check.
  • Reference checks.
  • And more.

Triton clients enjoy fast turnaround times, secure and private data, and exceptional customer service.

Improve your background checks for employment today. Contact Triton Canada by calling 1-844-874-8667 or visiting