Most companies advise potential employees that criminal background checks will be done prior to hiring. However, there have been a rash of social media incidents involving employees and the question employers are now asking, If we had paid more attention towards employees’ personal lives and behaviors, would our brand and image be tarnished based on who we hired without considering social media history?

As an employer, knowing when it is necessary to do a social media background check can eliminate a lot of potential future conflicts.

Why do a social media background check

Your intuition and initial impression are good indicators that one may, though not necessarily, cause problems within your organization. Some companies calculate if the individual meets their quality standards by a combination of statistical data about the person. Following this, however, can cause you to miss those intuitive, instinctive feelings.

Any records exceeding what’s tolerable should entail you to seek a social media background check to weed out those who can potentially hurt the company and employees. Crimes of moral turpitude should be considered reasons for you to reject or terminate one from employment.

For instance, a US company employee openly discussed his interest in worshipping a religion where hate and negativity were emphasized, as evidence by his Facebook page. He later attempted murder on the mother of his child. Other employees were not surprised by his actions. His social media accounts alone showed he could potentially cause violence.

If a person has been convicted for violent or sexual offenses against others, then reviewing how he interacts via social media is fair game, as long as it is still within the boundaries of company rules and policies. Do consider how long it’s been since the offense was committed; in order to see if he has learned and changed, an online social media check may help you review and evaluate.

There shouldn’t be biases against personal beliefs, but there are things that you should be wise about for your company and people’s safety. Any company that builds its image on integrity and positivity should always take into consideration the people it employs. Employees exemplify what a company stands for and the common purpose for its existence. Investing into an employee who doesn’t uphold a good image could have a negative effect on the company.

In cases of negative social media presence

Let applicants know the importance of image in your company. Be tactfully frank and say that, unfortunately, incontinent behaviors found through background checks are grounds for rejection of application. Do say how much you appreciate them taking the time to consider employment in your company and that perhaps, next time, the result will be different.

When it comes to current employees affecting company image, however, ensuring that your company has a compliance clause can help protect it. Discussion amongst management about a call to action will help correct any issues that the associate may have – it does not always have to end in termination. If measures have failed to guide the employee, then perhaps termination would be a reasonable option.

If you use social media yourself, you know of individuals you wouldn’t consider hiring based on behaviors displayed publicly. Companies have been tied to incidents of rude or foul behavior by employees who upload inappropriate, damaging or confidential company information. One thing is for sure: social media background checks can provide great comfort and confidence when hiring or keeping someone in your fold.

Business is business. Be well within your rights as an employer, hold no risk of being connected to someone who can ruin the business.