Cisive Product Highlight: Social Media Screening

In this Cisive Product Highlight series, we review key tools to consider when screening your workforce, as well as top benefits and features when ordering them through Cisive and our family of brands. This month’s highlight is Social Media Screening, helping employers better understand the character and trustworthiness of a potential hire.  

Key Takeaways:
  1. Social Media Screening is a crucial tool for employers in the digital age.
  2. Employers can select which types of content to screen that are most relevant to their industry.
  3. Search for applicants on 11 major platforms.


Table of Contents:
  1. What is Social Media Screening?
  2. Who uses Social Media Screening?
  3. How does it work?
  4. Which platforms are searched?
  5. Best Practices


What is Social Media Screening?

Social Media Screening is a component of background screening that involves scanning potential employees' digital footprint across various social media sites. It scrutinizes job seekers' publicly available data on platforms such as Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, and Instagram, among others. It is compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and designed to deliver a more comprehensive portrait of a candidate, beyond what's typically found in a resume or a job interview. Employers can evaluate an applicant's online behavior, including recurring themes, patterns, or any red flags that might indicate potential risk or compatibility issues with the company culture and values.  

Why is it important?

Social Media Screening can be a crucial tool for employers in the digital age. By assessing publicly available posts, comments, likes, and shares, employers can identify any behavioral trends or red flags that may pose a risk to the organization. This includes instances of harassment, discrimination, or illegal activity that can potentially harm the company's reputation or legal standing. It's important to note that Social Media Screening should always respect privacy laws and adhere to ethical guidelines to avoid potential bias or discrimination based on protected class information.  

Who uses Social Media Screening?

Employers across various sectors can benefit from Social Media Screening. Highly regulated industries where professionalism and compliance are paramount, such as healthcare, finance, and government, can particularly benefit from this service. Businesses where employees often interface directly with customers and represent the company's brand, such as retail and hospitality sector, can also find value in screening candidates' online behavior.

  • Finance Industry: Given the high stakes involved in financial operations, Social Media Screening can help identify any potential red flags concerning a candidate's integrity.
  • Healthcare Industry: Professionals in healthcare often handle sensitive information, making it critical to assess their trustworthiness and professionalism through Social Media Screening.
  • Government Agencies: These organizations require a workforce of utmost credibility. Social Media Screening can provide valuable insights into the character of job seekers.
  • Customer-Facing: Due to the direct interaction with customers and the need for excellent customer service, understanding an employee's online behavior can be beneficial.

  Recommended Reading: Should You Include Social Media in Background Checks? 


How does Social Media Screening work?

Cisive's Social Media Screening operates through a multi-stage process, ensuring thoroughness, accuracy, and adherence to legal and ethical standards. Initially, it identifies the candidate's social media accounts across various platforms using the name, address, email address, or other identifiers as supplied by the employer.

Social media platforms searched include:

  • Facebook
  • X (Formerly Twitter)
  • Pinterest
  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Strava
  • Foursquare
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • TikTok
  • Tumblr

  The employer selects which filters they want to search for, whether negative (such as profane language, references to tardiness, or references to weapons) or positive (such as volunteer work). Cisive's strategic partner then analyzes publicly available information, such as social media posts, comments, and likes, to detect behavioral trends, potential areas of concern, or compatibility with company values. The system specifically targets indicators of potentially problematic behavior, including instances of harassment, discrimination, violence, or illegal activities, according to the filters the employer has selected.  

Common Names

In cases where an applicant's name is very common, specific identifiers are used to positively the social media accounts. This may include publicly available information, such as date of birth, email, location, etc. Reports always have a human touch to confirm the social media profiles found are a match to the applicant before providing the report to the employer. Applicants may also provide potential employers with their social media handles directly.  

What is the ordering process?

The employer simply adds a Social Media Screen to their cart for an applicant, providing any identifying information they have available on the candidate. After 3-5 days, the employer receives a detailed report presenting the findings in an easy-to-read format. The report includes the candidate’s digital footprint overview, any identified areas of concern, and an overall assessment of the candidate's online behavior. This data can then be used alongside traditional screening methods to make a well-informed hiring decision.  

Social Media Screening Best Practices

To effectively leverage Social Media Screening in your hiring process, and ensure you remain compliant and fair in your evaluation, here are some best practices for implementing this tool:

  • Be consistent when applying filters, and when deciding how to respond to a variety of alerts. If an employer takes action on one alert, their policy should require that they take the same action on all applicants who set off a particular filter.
  • Always take findings in context. Take, for example, an employer that has a filter set for "references to weapons." It would alert an applicant saying, "That was the bomb," meaning something was great or awesome, and not referring to an actual bomb.

At Cisive, we understand the challenges and complexities involved in the hiring process. With our social media screening tool, you can mitigate potential risks and make informed decisions. Get in touch with our team of experts today for a personalized social media screening consultation. Contact us to speak with an expert!  


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