Guest Blog: Three Industry-Specific Ways To Tailor Your Company’s Social Media Screening

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Transitioning to a digital workplace has meant more than compliance and security concerns to gain access to the data you need – it also has added a layer of complexity to talent acquisition and workforce management. In an era when many interviews are virtual, and managers may not meet candidates in person during the hiring process – or even after a candidate joins their team – how can you leverage digital data to screen for toxic workplace behavior before an offer is extended, and someone joins your team?

Enter social media screening, the process of analyzing a candidate or current employee’s digital footprint through their publicly available online data, with the goal of identifying any potential risks posed to the organization, including bigotry, sexism, and harassment.

HireRight and Fama Technologies, Inc. (Fama) have partnered to offer social media screening to employers as part of a comprehensive candidate screening program. Fulfilled by Fama and offered through a seamless integration within the HireRight platform, social screening can broaden the scope of your background check to fit today’s virtual work environment –and ultimately identify candidates’ job-relevant behaviors.

I was inspired to found Fama after missing a critical risk on a new hire that was plainly available on social media. I’ll spare you the detail – it was the classic HR horror story where we as managers were asked, “How did we miss this?” as we picked up the pieces. Fama’s technology was specifically created to help save employers from the same pain I experienced. Instead of providing a score or a thumbs up/down, we built software that would allow an employer to identify job-specific risks designated by the employer that might exist on a candidate’s publicly available social media.

Learn more about Protecting Your Brand with Social Media Screening

Leveraging Fama’s technology, searches generate results that offer insight to assess candidate-posted content with customers’ own hiring standards and policies –ultimately helping to protect against potential brand and bottom-line damage for your company. Typically, clients select from a menu of risks, including intolerance, harassment, violence, and other online behaviors that might adversely impact brand or culture. But in the past year, we have seen more companies seek ways to go beyond searching for these warning signs to more specifically tailor searches for the unique concerns of their fields – particularly in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and government contracting industries.

Here is a look at three new areas of interest that Fama is seeing right now from employers in these and other spaces:

  • Embracing Conspiracy Theories, Including Anti-Vaccine Sentiment
    According to the National Institute of Health, the spread of misinformation online has had a crippling effect on our collective response to COVID-19. In this context, misinformation often takes the form of conspiracy theories or fake treatments. While this sort of misinformation poses a threat to the general public, the risk is more significant to employers in the healthcare industry and vaccine supply chains. An employee promoting an anti-vaccine ideology, for example, poses a direct business risk to their employer. Over the past few months, we have been getting more questions from these types of businesses asking how they can identify if their people, those tasked with delivering the vaccine, are promoting dangerous conspiracy theories. Surprisingly, we have seen hit rates as high as 1% of healthcare workers that espouse anti-vaccine sentiment online.
  • Anti-Government Sentiment
    The U.S. capitol riots in January caught much of corporate America off guard. Many employers were surprised to see that their employees not only participated in the riots, but went a level further and promoted that participation online. Given my experience seeing the sorts of intolerant and violent content that a fraction of people publicly espouse online, it is hard to surprise me. That said, I was nearly knocked out of my chair to learn that one person who broke into the Capitol wore their work ID badge around their neck. Not every employer is concerned to a point about this sort of anti-government sentiment that they want to start screening for such risks for every new hire. Today, government contractors and businesses in the security services industry, given their customer base, are very interested. It will be quite interesting to see how this risk manifests itself over the course of the coming year.
  • Company Audits and Recertification
    In addition to the risks outlined above, corporations around the globe continue to seek to identify risk related to people exhibiting intolerance of others, threatening behavior, and violence. Consumers increasingly expect that the companies they buy from reflect their values, and employees’ voices grow louder as they demand a workplace that is free from intolerance and harassment. In turn, we are seeing more calls from employers asking for solutions to help audit their existing employee base to identify risks relevant to their brand or culture. This solution is not an “always-on” monitoring, but closer to a recertification that many businesses are seeking to better understand.

See it in action with The Real World of Social Media Screening

While we are not suggesting that these categories and solutions are right for every employer, by adding these or other search categories into your regular social media screening, your company can tailor how you vet employees to reflect the issues and needs unique to your industry. And if you’re not already practicing social media screening, I encourage you to learn more about how it can help you more effectively screen candidates in this era of remote work.

Ben Mones

Ben Mones

Ben Mones is the CEO and Founder of Fama Technologies, an AI-based startup that helps companies identify problematic behavior across new hires and existing employees by analyzing publicly available online information. He's held executive roles at a variety of enterprise software companies and briefly worked in venture capital before starting Fama. Ben is also a respected voice in academia and international media on topics related to entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence and people risk management. He contributes to the conversation around these topics on panels and as a featured guest at conferences around the world and is a regular guest lecturer at MIT Sloan, UCLA Anderson, and USC Marshall School of Business.

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