"Social Media" as part of background checking

  • #1
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,082
1,143
This idea makes me curious based on the topic, https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...-for-jobs-related-to-math-and-physics.991084/ , post number 9. (No, not that one. See below!)

How could an employer view any candidate who either claims to have no "social media" accounts or really does not have any "social media" account? Is employer suspicious? The candidate could take the view that any focus on "social media" is dubious and is completely offtopic, and could be suspicous of the prosepective employing company. Candidate may think, "Social Media is a waste of time; why does the employer care about this?"

EDIT: Yes, I really did need to refer to post #8; not #9.
 
Last edited:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Zap
258
79
I deleted my Facebook a few years ago and no longer participate in social media unless under an alias.

I think it's fair for employers to check your social media account if you have one. If you want that information to be private, you can. Otherwise, you should monitor what is being associated with your account. You could also use an alias and make sure not to let any fellow employees find out about it.

I think it's better not to have a social media account, unless you are promoting a business of some kind.
 
  • Informative
Likes symbolipoint
  • #3
1,841
209
N = 1;
I don't care about their social media accounts, and don't look at them if they have them.
 
  • Like
Likes symbolipoint
  • #4
berkeman
Mentor
58,373
8,449
This idea makes me curious based on the topic, https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...-for-jobs-related-to-math-and-physics.991084/ , post number 9.
I think you mean post #8, right?
if the program is funded by the DoD, Energy (nuclear power plants etc) or the intel community, a clearance is required. Usually, you have to fill out the paperwork and submit it when they make a conditional offer, i.e., youi don't get the job until you qualify with a clearance. We used to hire people without then when they couldn't we let them go, it is the nature of the business. As long as you're not actively breaking the law, it is pretty easy to keep a clearance. Speeding tickets, running stop sign, etc won't keep you from getting or keeping one, but DUI's domestic abuse, etc will. Any felony in the past 10 years will.

I had interviewed someone in the not too distant past, I thought they were good and was heading towards an offer until I checked their social media (it isn't too hard). Bottom line, I wasn't happy with the stupid things they were doing (not illegal but not professional) and declined to make an offer.

Just don't do stupid and most likely you won't have any problems.
I think it's fine and appropriate to check their obvious social media posts as part of the hiring process (I'm generally on the technical interview team, not the overall hiring team, so they would be doing this checking). If their accounts are out in the open it seems fine to check them. I'd have no problem with a prospective employer seeing my Facebook (or PF or other technical forum accounts that I have).

But I have to tell you that I've seen some posts by some of my friends on Facebook that made me say to myself, "I would not hire this person for the kind of jobs that they currently hold -- this kind of post is too radical/incorrect/nutty/other".

Also, since I work in EMS, we have to be extra careful in what we post about our work and our patients and other stuff.
 
  • #5
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,082
1,143
These posts have already gone off--track. I am trying to demonstrate this kind of exchange:

Interviewer: We must see your social media as part of our hiring evaluation process. Please tell us all your social media accounts so we can check this.

Interviewee: Just as I indicate on the application, I am not part of any social media. I have no social media account. I did give two personal, professional references from a couple previous companies I worked for.

Interviewer: No social media presence? Why? Social media sites are our contemporary way to exchange information and connect with several levels of people. We really want to look at social media activity of every candidate we evaluate.

Interviewee: ------------------( from here, such a scene could go in many kinds of directions.)
 
  • #6
TeethWhitener
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,886
1,269
These posts have already gone off--track. I am trying to demonstrate this kind of exchange:
1) I don't think the post alluded to in the other thread referred to that kind of exchange. It seemed more along the lines of @berkeman 's post. As a job seeker, you should absolutely expect prospective employers to at least google your name. If your Twitter feed pops up with a bunch of really dumb or offensive posts, that's a liability for the company.
2) I can't imagine a situation (other than working in social media or marketing) where a social media presence is required, and even then, I can't imagine a situation where a personal social media presence is required before starting a job. I'd expect that if a social media presence is required, that fact would be made known in the job announcement.
 
  • Like
Likes shjacks45
  • #7
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,082
1,143
1) I don't think the post alluded to in the other thread referred to that kind of exchange.
That's right, but my imagination allowed me to follow some of the logic to my current question, so I asked about it. That is why I made this separate topic.
 
  • #8
1,830
983
These posts have already gone off--track. I am trying to demonstrate this kind of exchange:
Interviewer: We must see your social media as part of our hiring evaluation process. Please tell us all your social media accounts so we can check this.

Interviewee: Just as I indicate on the application, I am not part of any social media. I have no social media account. I did give two personal, professional references from a couple previous companies I worked for.

Interviewer: No social media presence? Why? Social media sites are our contemporary way to exchange information and connect with several levels of people. We really want to look at social media activity of every candidate we evaluate.

Interviewee: ------------------( from here, such a scene could go in many kinds of directions.)
symbolipoint said:
That's right, but my imagination allowed me to follow some of the logic to my current question, so I asked about it. That is why I made this separate topic.
So what is the question?

Are you asking us, how would we fill in the blank for the Interviewee?
My answer is "So what are you saying?" and wait for the Interviewer to decide if he/she really wants to call me a liar.

Or are you asking us "as Interviewer, what are you thinking?"
My answer is, "I need to stop asking potential employees stupid questions."
 
  • Like
Likes berkeman
  • #9
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,082
1,143
So what is the question?

Are you asking us, how would we fill in the blank for the Interviewee?
My answer is "So what are you saying?" and wait for the Interviewer to decide if he/she really wants to call me a liar.

Or are you asking us "as Interviewer, what are you thinking?"
My answer is, "I need to stop asking potential employees stupid questions."
gmax137,
Your interpretation is good, but although you are complaining about my question, my post #1 on this is enough what I ask right now. I want to avoid prematurely telling what I think; still, this is clear enough in my post #1.

gmax137 or anyone else, my original question here,
How could an employer view any candidate who either claims to have no "social media" accounts or really does not have any "social media" account?
 
  • #10
Dr Transport
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,426
562
For the record, I have NEVER had a Facebook account. I do have an Instagram, LinkedIn and stopped using twitter. My accounts are private and I have not posted on Instagram in nearly a year.

I'm a private individual, I tend to not give away any personal info and any employer would not find anything that they would find offensive and disqualifying.

I can't say that for most of the young people I interview.
 
  • #11
34,947
11,128
Social media sites are our contemporary way to exchange information and connect with several levels of people.
If that means that social media use will be part of the job of that person, then it's a perfectly valid question and no experience with these websites would be a downside.
If it doesn't mean it, I wouldn't see the relevance.
We really want to look at social media activity of every candidate we evaluate.
Well, that makes it easy to answer: "You already looked at all the social media activity of me".

I have a LinkedIn account I could give them, it has no activity apart from adding some connections to colleagues. I never had a Facebook or Twitter account, not even under a pseudonym.
 
  • Like
Likes symbolipoint
  • #12
1,830
983
@symbolipoint , I wasn't complaining about your question, I just wasn't sure what you were asking.

If an interviewee told me they had no social media presence I would drop it and move on to other questions.
 
  • #13
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,082
1,143
@symbolipoint , I wasn't complaining about your question, I just wasn't sure what you were asking.
Thanks for clarifying.
 
  • #14
Ibix
Science Advisor
Insights Author
7,096
6,029
Ultimately, it's impossible to prove the claim "I have no social media accounts" to be true. So unless there's some social media usage as part of the job (in which case I'd regard demonstrating sensible social media use as a relevant skill) I'd just let it go. Although I might google their name later as a check.

The problem with social media is around reputation, I think. On a professional level I don't care about your personal life except as it affects your work. However, if a client can google you and the first thing that comes up is a picture of you vomiting in a gutter captioned "top night out", or reposts of blatant racism or whatever, then my company has a reputational risk employing you. So no social media accounts is fine - no risk.
 
  • #15
100
35
"Does the company Employee Handbook require a social media account? How soon after hire am I required to have one?" Honestly if a manager/exec asked me those questions they would make lousy person to work for. Those questions would give you points to challenge him at HR. However do you really want to work for a company that hires jerks like that? You purposely chose to make your interviewer an idiot. Most employers would google your name at least. Internet background check companies are often $1 or less. Google would let the interviewer if there was an account and how controversial. Hence a straight answer is going to be better than lieing or denying. Think of all the people busted for 7 year old content someone found on The Internet Archive.
 

Related Threads on "Social Media" as part of background checking

Replies
6
Views
5K
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
15
Views
14K
Replies
3
Views
3K
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
3
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
898
Top