The short answer is yes. But there is more you will want to know to learn about these checks, from why they matter to your potential employer and how they are carried out to the ways they could benefit you in your search for contract jobs in Australia.
Our guess is that you have probably read or heard horror stories about social media background checks from your colleagues and this has made you fearful of the whole process.
However, once you understand why recruiters carry out such checks, you will realise they are not bad after all and that you can use this opportunity to double up your chances of getting that job.
Why Recruiters Carry Out Social Media Background Checks
Here’s a simple example to illustrate why these checks are necessary. Let's say you live in Sydney and have applied for contract work in Melbourne. Apart from what you have put down in your resume, your potential employer has no other way of finding out more about you.
If they only rely on your resume, they will make a poorly-informed judgement about you. After all, a candidate’s suitability for a job cannot be limited to skills and qualifications alone.
Social media background checks help your potential employer have a more comprehensive image of the person that they plan to hire. They can gather a lot from your social media accounts that will help them make an informed judgement about your suitability for the job.
If you are worried that such information could set the basis for bias in the interview process, please note there are guidelines your potential employer has to follow when carrying out a social media background check. Which brings us to the next point.
How Social Media Background Checks Are Carried Out
Employers are usually careful when carrying out social media background checks. This is because they can only use information that is relevant to the hiring process.
Many collaborate with legal professionals in doing this. That explains why most companies and organisations now have regulations that govern how their teams carry out social media background checks.
Information like age, sex, religion, and sexual orientation is usually left out during these checks since it is not acceptable to use them in the hiring process. Besides, they have little to do with your suitability for contract jobs in Sydney.
Efforts to develop solutions that will weed out bias in the hiring process are still being done to date by states and several organisations. The decision to leave out such information when doing social media background checks is definitely a decision in the right direction.
How Social Media Background Checks Can Benefit You
As we mentioned earlier, it is difficult for employers to tell if you are the right person for the job based only on the information in your resume
Now, if you take the time to make your social media profile attractive to your potential employer, then you stand to benefit from a social media background check.
If a potential employer sees that you have a complete profile, a professional-looking headshot and are active online, promoting yourself and building your reputation as a career contractor, then they will be inclined to hire you for the job.
Below are more tips on how to make social media background checks work for you.
How To Increase Your Chances Of Passing a Social Media Background Check
Most part-timers make the mistake of posting whatever is on their minds on their social media profiles without thinking of the ramifications. Before you post your thoughts, a picture, or a video online, think about how it will reflect on you.
For example, no employer will want to hire you if they see that you often talk negatively about your fellow employees and contractors, previous and current job or former bosses.
You might also want to limit what your friends post on your social media walls/timeline. This is to avoid your potential recruiter getting a wrong idea about you.
Generally, refrain from posting content that will portray in a negative light.
Other actions you can take to make your social media profile an employer magnet is:
Show your expertise by completing your profile with relevant details and discussing, commenting and sharing on subjects that most concern you.
Show your personality by being a bit open about who you are
Avoid sharing provocative pictures and posts
Another trick that has worked for many is having two separate accounts: One for sharing personal content and the other for professional purposes. When you submit the professional one to your employer, you are making it easier for them to find information that is relevant to your employment. It is another way to increase your chances of getting those coveted contract jobs in Australia.
Social media background checks are fast becoming a part of the hiring process. Being aware of how you interact with others online is the best way of ensuring that you pass any background check done on you.