In the age of Social Media dominance, the social media background check is one of the primary ways employers are screening employees. Of course, calling references and verifying credentials always comes first, a social media screening would be a means to decide between candidates on the short list.
Applicants, especially younger ones, are likely to have a public Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus page available on the worldwide web. Simply searching their name and location should bring up their pages and you may peek into their social lives to determine their character. The use of automated software may also streamline this process for bulk applications.
Is it morally right to screen applicants' online activity?
One may see this as an invasion of privacy. On the other hand, these potential employees will publish their information for the public to see so they should expect potential employers to search for it. Somebody that is posting unsavory things on the internet under their real name is not somebody that you want representing your business.
Why would I want to see their online information?
One reason that you may search somebody's online history is to look for inconsistent information on their application. Facebook posts may reveal their real employment history and possibly workplace conflicts that were not found in their application.
Also, if a user claims to be an expert on a certain subject, you may want to look to see if they actively contribute to Quora or forums to see that they indeed have an interest in the subject.
The ability for an employee to present them in a professional manner in public is absolutely important. If they are vulgar online, there is a chance that they will be vulgar in the workplace. Some people will express themselves freely on the internet so you will get a chance to peer into what is going on in their head.
Monitoring employees after their tenure.
If an employee or contractor stops working for you, whether they were terminated or their contract ends, you will still be able to keep tabs on them using social media. For example, if an ex-employee decides to slander the company or release secrets, you can use this as evidence if you make a case for a lawsuit. Also, if you consider an ex-contractor for future work, you can keep tabs on them to see if their behavior reflects somebody that you want back on the team.
Can this process be fully automated?
In theory, the ever-improving AI technology should become advanced enough to automatically monitor social media activity. For the time being, it is a good idea to use a combination of automated software and manual verification so that you can verify that certain information is accurate.
If you are considering using AI software right now, you will need to be rather specific about the things that you want to look for. For example, you will want to filter out certain terms or mentions of a certain business to see if it raises any red flags. You may also choose to automatically screen if a user uses a lot of vulgarities or other types of language that would not be acceptable in the workplace. Of course, you cannot expect the results to be perfect as AI software is still in the early stage of development.