Perception is everything, especially for job seekers in today’s cut-throat job market. However, perception is no longer limited to having a well-presented cover letter/resume and a manicured, in-person appearance. In fact, more than ever, our digital footprint is impacting the way employers perceive candidates. This is why an increasing number of job seekers and volunteers are turning to social media checks to help understand their online presence and take charge of their online image before it impedes their job search.

Social media background checks involve a deep scan of a candidate’s activity on public social media websites and other online, public spaces. It can uncover posts, likes, comments, blogs, etc., and reveal a candidate’s demeanor, proclivities, affiliations and more. A social media check is an essential tool for employers to confirm information provided by candidates and expose any potential red flags. Conversely, it can uncover aspects of a candidate’s identity that might otherwise be difficult to perceive, even past activities a candidate might rather have kept hidden.

Red flags uncovered by social media background checks can include:

  • Explicit photos/videos showing inappropriate/illegal behaviour
  • Discriminatory posts
  • Derogatory statements regarding a previous employer

The unemployment rate is high. In fact, in March 2024, the unemployment rate in Canada rose to 6.1%, up from 5.8% in February. This marks the most significant unemployment increase in this country since the summer of 2022. With this increase in unemployment, there will be more people pedaling resumes and, of course, greater competition among job seekers. And, although the job market in April saw renewed strength, many are still looking for work.

Job seekers need every advantage they can get. Triton Social Media Background Checks provide those seeking employment, and those simply curious, a unique opportunity to perceive their online presence through the vantage point of an employer. While social media is relatively young, our perception and use of these platforms has grown from naive to much more concerned about personal security and privacy rights. What was once viewed as a personal account, whether on Facebook, Instagram or otherwise, is now known to be anything but this.

“Because we tend to view our personal social media accounts as being ‘personal,’ there’s a good chance that by viewing someone’s profile, you’ll get a glimpse into their personality beyond the resume,” said DeeAnn Sims-Knight, founder of Dark Horse PR.

According to a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 70 percent of the employers who responded said they believe every company should screen candidates’ social media profiles during the hiring process. Perhaps unsurprisingly, about 78 percent of employers also stated they believe that current employees should maintain a work-appropriate social media profile.

Meanwhile, the same survey found that 55 percent of employers who use social media screenings have found content that caused them not to hire a candidate.

To help keep your online presence professional, follow these guidelines from The Harris Poll’s Survey:

1.  Avoid posting anything potentially offensive. If you wouldn’t bring in a particular picture and post it in your cubicle, or say something at the workplace, remove it from your public page.
2.  Be purposeful in your posts. Ask yourself: What is my goal with posting this? Is this best for a private or public page?
3.  Keep it simple: Remember that less is more in your public profiles.
4.  Never complain about employers or colleagues – past or present – on social media.

From posts to likes, comments and tags, most people have a varied history of social media use. Online actions that may have appeared innocent as a young adult or teenager can still greatly affect your prospects as a job seeker or volunteer. It’s time to take charge of your future by reigning in your past online activities.

For more information about Triton Social Media Background Checks, please visit: