Applying for a job? Prepare yourself for a social media background check

Written by James on November 3, 2021

image of a social media page being reviewed as part of a social media background check

In recent years, more and more of both our work and private lives have revolved around social media. This has been paralleled with a rise in social media cancel culture, so it’s no wonder that many employers are being more stringent than ever with their background checks.

Whether you’re looking for work or currently employed, your online presence matters more than ever to employers. In an attempt to control their own company’s reputation, many are proactively seeking social media background checks to make sure that you’re representing their brand in the way they see fit. Using online services such as Good Egg and Fama.io, a potential employer could be diving into your Facebook or Twitter history. The reality is that these social media platforms that you likely believe to be private, may end up being the make or break between you and your dream job.

While there are arguments to be made against the efficacy and ethicality of these sweeping background checks, in today’s online climate it is a good idea as an individual to prepare yourself. If you predict that you will have a background check run on you by a potential employer, here are our top tips to prepare:

Reasons For A Social Media Background Check

A traditional background check has been used for years by many employers to gain a greater understanding of a potential employer’s past. Factors such as identification, education history, driving record and any legal troubles may be considered important when starting a new job.

While these newer social media background checks may not be looking for an arrest warrant, they are looking for more nuanced information to assess your suitability for employment. Algorithms are trained to search through your social media profile, picking up old tweets or photos that could be resurfaced and become a PR issue for an employer.

While your social media accounts are, of course, your own to control, it is crucial to realise how much of an impact they could be having on your career.

Watch out for the Red Flags

The algorithms (or people) that process your social media account are programmed to look for offensive language or photos that suggest anti-social behaviour. Keywords are used to look for instances of bigotry, racism, misogyny, violence or criminal behaviour.

While these may sound extreme, it’s important to realise that the way we have approached social media over the last decade has shifted immensely. Your teenage self may have thoughtlessly shared an opinion that you reject as an adult, or perhaps there are wild photos of your college spring break floating around on Facebook. It is this sort of content that could jeopardize your future, or at the very least lead to an embarrassing conversation with an employer.

Be aware of your ‘Company Fit’

Although ‘Red Flags’ are the first thing an employer would look for when doing a social media background check they are also looking for other markers that could indicate that you would not be trustworthy or don’t fit in with the company culture.

Examples of this are things like bad comments against your former employer, talking about sensitive work topics or potentially confidential information and sharing viewpoints that conflict with the company values. Although everyone has a right to express themselves on social media, extreme views that don’t align with the company’s values present an impression that you might be a potentially liability or bad fit within the organization.

Tools To Prepare Yourself

Don’t worry - if you’re expecting a social media background check to be conducted on your profiles, there are ways to prepare. And even if you’re not actively job seeking, it is wise in this day and age to take a proactive approach to your online presence.

The most obvious way to protect yourself against the effects of a thorough social media background check is to manually go through your accounts. Scroll to the very beginning of your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles, and simply start reading. While it may be obvious which posts to archive or make totally private, a good rule of thumb is that if they make you cringe, they can go.

Of course, social media is not new, and the process of sifting through years of content can be arduous and inaccurate. The good news is that just how there are automated background check services for employers, there are also ones designed to empower the individual.

At yourself.online We’re Here To Help

yourself.online is a simple online tool that quickly scans your social media profiles, using advanced algorithms to flag any content that has the potential to be picked up by employers.

Far from erasing your online presence, yourself.online allows you to take control of the way you are presented online and gives you the ultimate say in what stays and what goes. If you decide to delete any posts, it can be done right from the dashboard - a much easier process than doing it yourself manually.

Going forward, yourself.online guides you to check and adapt your privacy controls across your social media accounts to manage what is visible to an employer or third party background check service. Instead of a fear-based approach to your online identity, yourself.online allows you to feel empowered.

Even if you have nothing to hide, the reality is that the phrase “background check” can be scary! However, with the modern approach of tools such as yourself.online, you no longer have to worry about your past self, and can start focusing on your future. Click here to run our social media check for free.