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Needless to say, social media has completely taken the world by storm. At one side where employers use this platform to boost their brand awareness, on the other side employees use it to maintain their social profile and to seek jobs. Social media platforms portray a fascinating picture of a person even if it is not 100% authentic. Employee profiles in social media give employers the information about their activities and interest.

Well, browsing through social media platforms of employees can sometimes create a challenge for the employer as it becomes difficult to discriminate between an employee’s personal and professional life online. That is why you need to keep in mind that whatever you post could have a serious impact on your work life. It could even cost you your job or opportunities in the future.

As stated by CareerBuildersurvey in 2018, almost 70% of employers prefer employment screening through social media during the hiring process and 43% of employers take the help of social media to check their current employees. Checking social media accounts of a person gives a glimpse of their personal life and other things beyond the resume.

Why social media?

This is probably the question that forces employers to search for resources that might help them get an idea of the real personality of an employee. Social media is a virtual place where people come to socialize. They share their activities and interest which ultimately reveals the kind of people they are.

At first glance it might look like a valid option but many experts have pointed out some flaws in it.

1. The first obstacle that comes in the way is the issue of computer twins. When two people have the same name and background it becomes difficult for employers to differentiate between the job applicant and a random person.

2. Cyber bullying or cyber slamming is another issue. There are basically no rules and regulations in the virtual world that can actually restrict a person from posting false and damaging information about another person. if social media profiles are considered as a part of pre-employment background check then employers would have to face the challenge of filtering truth from the malicious fiction which is next to impossible.

3. Many states have already passed legislation that prohibits employers from demanding to share the details of candidates’ social media profiles.

4. In addition to that there are people who use pseudonym as their identity on social networks which makes a background check expensive and in most of the cases inaccurate

There are some situations in which a candidate’s social media profile might help in the process of background checking

- If the job applicant has applied for the job of a public relation manager or an in house social media strategist, an evaluation of their online identity and knowledge might be useful

- A candidate’s linkedin account provides professional recommendations and connections. It also helps in verifying his professional experience

Pre-employment background checks are crucial to know a candidate properly but scrutinizing their social media accounts are not always necessary. It is difficult to have a clear picture of an employee’s work habit through social media. Checking someone’s linkedin profile is absolutely fine but when it comes to a job requirement, sneaking a peek at someone’s profiles is not applicable.