Will Your Social Media Activities Pass the new Background Check

FAMA, a leading social media background screening and monitoring company, announced that they have partnered with Sterling. Sterling is one of the top companies that Fortune 500 Companies utilize for background screening.

Social Media Background Checks by Corporations are Best Business Practice

  1. An employee’s behavior online is strongly indicative of the beliefs and behaviors they will bring to the work environment.
  2. Freedom of Speech is a right, but Freedom from Consequences is not. Companies are not required to bring on employees who risk their brand, productivity, employee retention, and profitability.
  3. Companies are not required to bring on employees that post ad hominem attacks about groups, sexist content, religious or political events or comments publically on social media. See #1 above. All of these behaviors in the work environment can put Companies in the crosshairs for legal action related to violating EEOC rules. Hiring someone that has a history of these types of social media activities is likely to cost corporations money when defending lawsuits that assert the company should have known about these behaviors.

What is an Employee Online Background Check?

An employee online background check occurs as a company runs a program to analyze current employees’ or future employees’ past and current online activities. This includes searching the entire web and all public social media profiles, pictures, posts, and activities. The goal is to screen out candidates that create a brand risk, culture risk or lawsuit risk.

FAMA results are impressive.

I had FAMA run my Social Media Background check. I had a surprising Flag.

We are considering subscribing to FAMA as one of our tools. As part of the due diligence, I asked them to run my publicly available online content background check. It was pretty boring, except that a cached blog article was highlighted.

Yes, they can find cached items. A blog post I wrote over 7 years ago which I’ve since removed was flagged as “Of interest.” FAMA gives information as a starting point but provides a link for the recipient of the report to view the flagged content in context. I was confused when I saw the flag.

I clicked the review button and read the blog post several times. Topic: UBS and Credit Suisse Opening Offices in Georgia and hiring wealth management teams away from each other. Secondary Topic: Non-competes. I ran through a mental checklist. Nothing really controversial. No negative judgment attributed to either company. High-level discussion on noncompetes with no opinions given.

As it turns out, the trigger for the flag was probably the title of my blog, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.” It was a play on a Charlie Daniels song that I knew would pique interest. I wanted a title that would stand out in a crowd, and it did. But not in the way I intended.

Two Examples of What Not to Post on LinkedIn

1.) Do not post, like, share or comment on posts that attack a group of people or treat all members of a group as a stereotype vs. as individuals.

When you post on LinkedIn, your posting is associated with your employer’s brand and your professional brand. Top Talent and Next-Gen Leaders do not want to work for people who don’t respect them.

In the first comment, a Millennial asks, “why this is on LinkedIn.” The response is a Corporation’s Recruiting Brand nightmare, “..because this matters!!! It could be the most important thing posted on this site all week!!!” (The picture and poll are not real.)

The comment by the HR job seeker was just WOW! “Kinda proves the voting age should be raised to 25.” Profile: “I help companies improve sales and profits by reducing risk associated with human capital.” (The comments on the fake poll and picture is representative of their thought process.)

2.) Do not post sexist content. It is tempting to post content that gets attention in groups or feeds. Unfortunately, good marketing intentions do not erase the impact of sexist content. The following was posted recently by a male executive. It is a video of a woman in a string bikini posing by a pool who falls into the water. Male executives loved and commented on it.

This post is a Corporate Brand Risk in two areas. The first is obvious, it is not professional. Second, most top companies include Diversity & Inclusion in their Mission, Vision and Values statement. This type of post does not align with the stated core cultural element of most companies.

Think before posting, commenting, liking or sharing

Before doing anything on LinkedIn, just ask yourself the following:

“Would I want this activity to show up on a FAMA report for review?”

Contact Tracy Levine to learn more about our CoreEngager training program for executives. This training forms the foundation for your authentic and relevant Professional Brand that will pass the technology background check and the human review. tlevine@advantagetalentinc.com