Should you be using social media background checks as part of your pre-employment candidate screening process?


Globally, over * 62.3% of the world’s population uses social media. The average daily usage is 2 hours and 23 minutes (January 2024).

Social Media checks

Social Media checks

Incorporating social media background checks into your pre-employment screening process can be useful depending on the role you’re recruiting for. These checks offer valuable insights into a candidate’s character and values, crucial factors in informed hiring decisions. Given the influence of social media on our lives, evaluating a potential colleague’s character can be useful. While the legality of social media checks is not explicitly defined, transparency in informing candidates about the process is highly recommended.

In the UK, regulatory bodies like the British Standards Institute (BSI), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) acknowledge the significance of scrutinising candidates’ social media activities for roles subject to regulation.

Employers could consider the advantages of social media screening for a comprehensive understanding of applicants. Professional social media checks delve into a candidate’s online profile, offering insights into their;

  • background
  • character
  • communication skills
  • overall personality

This aids employers to make well-informed decisions, preserving company culture and ensuring a cohesive work environment.


Screening of social media can help identify potentially undesirable traits that could manifest in the workplace, creating cultural barriers and discomfort among colleagues.

In navigating pre-employment screening of social media, employers and recruitment agencies should adapt to the digital age. Traditional hiring criteria like CVs and cover letters are sometimes no longer sufficient, making it important to leverage technology for efficient social media account reviews. Considerations include;

  • objective evaluation
  • legal data acquisition
  • adherence to privacy
  • discrimination laws
  • meticulous record-keeping to comply with regulations.

Implementing screening technology for social media background checks is important. It streamlines the hiring process, aligns candidates with company values, and safeguards against reputational damage. For some organisations social media checks have become integral to pre-employment screening across various industries, with some making it a mandatory part of their onboarding process. Despite concerns about privacy invasion, the potential risks posed by a candidate’s questionable social media profile can underscore the necessity of thorough screening for the benefit of both employers and employees.

Does your organisation do social media background checks? 

*Smart Insights

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