April 26th, 2021 | Sterling

Transforming Social Media Screening

Social media screening is one of the biggest challenges facing employers today. Implementing any policy that aligns with your organization’s values and processes while mitigating risk and maintaining compliance is becoming increasingly important, and social media screening is no exception to this trend. Social media screening is an effective tool to add an additional layer of protection against potential risk to the company and its employees, just like traditional background screening.

In a little more than a decade, social media has become fundamental to the way billions engage with one another, and even more so now to ease pandemic isolation and build a sense of community.

With social media being an important part of many people’s lives, it’s not surprising that social media has influenced the world of recruitment with HR professionals adding social network background checks to their hiring and screening processes. Social media background checks provide vital information that help employers minimize the risk of a bad hire, which is why an increasing number of companies are adopting this step.

Since Sterling Healthcare and Life Sciences remains at the forefront of the ever-evolving background screening industry, more and more of our clients have asked us our opinion on this topic lately. We recently hosted a webinar focused on how our clients can get started on creating a policy and the adjudication process around social media screening. In case you missed it, you can watch it now on-demand: Policies and Best Practices for Screening Social Media. Ryan Garman, Director Sterling Healthcare, engaged in a discussion with Ben Mones, CEO of Fama Technologies Inc., the AI platform that powers Sterling’s social media screening. Ben shared that “as of late, social media engagement skyrocketed about 75% since the pandemic started and more of us are spending more time online. It’s increasingly become a valuable place to identify risk in the pre-employment sector.”

By leveraging artificial intelligence, language processing, and image recognition to screen publicly available content for risky behaviors that may help reduce bias in hiring decisions, an organization can put a standard policy in place and eliminate potential discrimination. For example, you may have one recruiter that is looking at a candidate’s social media accounts and taking their findings into consideration during the interview and hiring process while another recruiter may not be checking social media sites at all. This lack of consistent policy leaves an organization open to lawsuits.

By the Numbers:

  • 66% of employers use search engines to conduct research on job candidates
  • NEARLY HALF of employers check up on current employees on social media
  • 7 IN 10 employers use social networks to research job candidates
  • 57% of employers have found social or online content that caused them not to hire candidates
  • 34% of employers have reprimanded or fired an employee based on content found online

(Source by CareerBuilder.com)

There are many different variables that come into play when considering a social media screening policy for your organization. It’s likely that even the decision makers will have different opinions on what is considered a red flag and what isn’t. Regardless, it’s important to start having these conversations. Put together a workshop and include HR, Security, Compliance, Talent Acquisition, and leaders throughout the company to determine what the tolerance levels are from the organization’s perspective so that a robust policy and process can be created. Go into the workshop knowing that the answer will differ based on the type of healthcare or life sciences organization. Some are more risk averse than others, while some are more budget conscious. There are of course certain red flags such as harassment or threats against others based on race, religion, or gender that organizations across the board are intolerant of and do not want as part of their culture or brand representation.

Sterling Healthcare and Life Sciences has partnered with  Fama Technologies, Inc. to help companies protect their brands by screening potential and current employees with an AI-based software solution using publicly available online information. Our social media screening helps to reduce risk with a solution that enhances ethical decision-making and compliance by proactively identifying behaviors such as bigotry, sexism, and violence, and recognizes practices that align with a company’s culture and values. Sterling leverages technology that can be deployed in nearly every country and works across hundreds of languages. Organizations can now proactively protect their culture and brand from the sorts of risky behaviors that can draw down on innovation and expose a brand to liability. “You can do a lot of really bad things in this world, but never have been convicted of a crime. It’s one of the reasons why I personally believe social media is so important in a comprehensive screening program. Social media screening allows us to see the whole person and the history of that individual, as opposed to just that moment in time during a traditional screening”, points out Ryan Garman. Transform your background screening and eliminate bias in hiring decisions by adding social media screening. Develop a policy that reflects the values of your organization and your culture to build a foundation of trust and safety.

We are happy to assist in this process and share some of the best practices collected across many clients. If its not something you are ready to implement right now, at least start having the strategic conversations, because social media is here to stay.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.