social media employers


Here’s why South African employers screen your social media posts

Now might be the perfect time to clean up your social media accounts.

social media employers


It is common practice for businesses to do standard checks on potential applicants when deciding on their next hire.

What may surprise you, though, is that more and more businesses are casting their nets further than just the traditional criminal and financial checks.

Managed Integrity Evaluation’s (MIE) latest annual Background Screening index gives an interesting look at what companies are looking at to decide on potential candidates suitability.

It’s not surprising that criminal checks are still the most commonly requested checks by employers. 

The last twelve months have been particularly challenging for employers with the effect of COVID-19 having a massive impact on the job market.

As a result of this it’s expected that in the coming year, and probably for years to come, there will be a huge increase in job seekers who have been affected by corporate downsizing and retrenchment due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related lockdowns.

Desperation among job seekers is likely to only increase as the economy battles to come to terms with the new South African economic landscape.

It’s important to remember that South Africa’s economic recovery will lag behind developed and developed countries that have more aggressive vaccination programs.

It’s increasingly hard to see a future for South African job seekers in which there’s any respite from the increasing unemployment numbers.

As a result, companies are likely going to have to become increasingly discerning in how they vet potential new hires.

The MIE is already seeing changes in the types of information being requested about applicants. Social media information requests are one area where companies are becoming a lot more careful.

If you’re in the market for a job in the future you’ll need to spend as much time on cleaning up your social media as you do crafting the perfect C.V.

According to the MIE annual report, there was a 700% increase in requests for information about potential applicants social media presences.

This is unsurprising as the news has been full of high profile cases where individuals have made statements that have had severe reputational consequences for their employers.

In addition to reputational concerns, we can probably expect that employers could start using social media information to inform them about potential personality or ideological differences that could impact their company culture.

According to the report the majority of negative comment found came from the big two social media sites Facebook and Twitter.

The two sites accounted for nearly 90% of the negative content found during checks. The rest of the negative information came from web searches.

If you plan to immediately go and purge your social media of anything problematic things to look out for are:
Discriminatory content such as racism, sexism and homophobia.

Unprofessional content encompasses unprofessional and or sexual images along with aggressive or reckless speech which could have legal implications.

Drug use, this’s self-explanatory and job seekers should be very careful about what they post online about how they spend their Saturday nights.

The most surprising inclusion though was that candidates were flagged for spreading or posting misleading COVID-19 misinformation which will hopefully be a wake-up call to anyone who’s crawled down one of the many COVID-19 misinformation rabbit holes.