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Conducting Social Media Background Checks Before Hiring

Timothy Lozier Blog, Social Media Leave a Comment

According to an annual survey conducted by Career Builder, 70% of employers use social media to research job applicants. [1] With more people using social media than ten years ago, it’s becoming the norm for hiring managers to look to social networking sites to better assess candidates. Though, as a hiring manager, you can run into potential discrimination matters that extend into social media searches. Not to worry, our workforce management team at Trackforce Valiant discusses what you need to know about conducting social media background checks.

Outsource Social Media Background Checks

To avoid running into red tape when conducting social media background checks, outsource the work to a credible screener. Reputable background check screeners will be compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting (FCRA) act when conducting such investigations, helping you avoid legal issues as a hiring manager.

Get Consent

Pre-employment background checks via social networking sites are considered consumer reports by the FCRA. As a hiring manager, you’re required to receive written consent from job applicants or current employees before conducting social media background checks. The applicants must also be aware that information on the report may affect their employment candidacy at your company or not.

Adhere to FCRA Adverse Action Standards

When terminating employment or rejecting candidates, you must provide them with a pre-adverse notice, a photocopy of the consumer report used to finalize your decision, and a summary of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act if you’ll be conducting social media background checks. [2]

It’s highly advised that you don’t communicate with the applicants or the employee in question until after you’ve followed the FCRA Adverse Action Standards. Once you’ve completed the pre-Adverse Action Standards, the candidate has five days to determine if they want to challenge the information on their consumer report. Afterward, the employer can send the final adverse letter once the five days have passed.

Establish A Company-Wide Social Media Policy

Make the company’s expectations clear by establishing a company-wide social media policy for employees to adhere to.  This helps separate content on their social media profiles from the company’s values.  For instance, companies ask for employees to publish a social media disclaimer on their profiles to indicate their personal views do not match those of their employer.


It’s important as a human resources manager to keep everything fair and practical for current employees and job applicants. When conducting social media background checks, hold employees and candidates to the same standard across the board. If you’d learn more about pre-employment background checks or how to manage paycheck records, feel free to reach out to a member of the workforce management team at Trackforce Valiant for more information.





[1] CareerBuilder – More Than Half of Employers Have Found Content on Social Media That Caused Them NOT to Hire a Candidate, According to Recent CareerBuilder Survey

[2] Federal Trade Commission – Using Consumer Reports: What Employers Need to Know

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