Vero Hero

Social Media Searches

Why social media searches?

With clients increasingly looking to include social media searches in their employment screening packages, we’re pleased to announce Vero is now partnering with Neotas to offer this service.

Historically, and understandably, employers have been wary of undertaking social media searches. How to adopt a consistent, comprehensive and unbiased approach? How not to stray too far into the private lives of their employees? How to avoid viewing information about protected characteristics, else risk exposing themselves to accusations of discrimination? But with new artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, the landscape of social media searches has changed.

Using social media to assess cultural fit and mitigate reputational risk is no longer a ‘nice to have option’. Increasingly, it’s being seen as a core element of the screening process. Supplementing rather than replacing existing screening procedures.

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Why Neotas?

A number of different companies are now operating in the social media checking space. We’ve taken the time engage with most of these companies, so we could understand their different offerings and approaches. We wanted to satisfy ourselves – on your behalf – that our chosen partner was offering the most compliant and competitive service. We believe Neotas does exactly that, offering you:

 

  • Zero false positives
  • Protected characteristics kept confidential
  • Business relevant results only
  • Flexible risk categories
  • Undisclosed social media handles identified
  • Fast, efficient and affordable solution
  • No more ‘last to know’ scenarios
  • Global, multi-lingual solution
  • Advanced technology
  • GDPR and privacy compliance

All this means you can confidently:

  • Confirm candidate suitability
  • Remove bias from your hiring decisions
  • Protect your employees and brand
  • Avoid costs associated with bad hires

How it works?

Neotas social media searches consult publicly available, open-source data only. They’re run against 10 clearly defined categories – eight risk categories and two positive indicator categories. Each risk category will be ‘red flagged’ if any relevant content is identified. And all red-flagged content will be fully evidenced, actionable and documented in a comprehensive report.

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Risk categories (8)


  • Extreme views / opinions
  • Hate and discriminatory behaviour
  • Illegal activities
  • Inappropriate / undesirable content
  • Potential addiction or substance abuse
  • Sexually explicit content
  • Violent content
  • Other

Positive indicators (2)


  • Charitable work
  • Volunteering role

FAQs


We’ve set out helpful responses to some of the most frequently asked questions – by clients and candidates – in relation to social media searches as part of an employment screening exercise

Is the depth of report “reasonable” as required by the FCA Regulations?
Such questions are always open to debate. But Neotas have engaged directly with the FCA to better understand their position. These conversations have always shown the FCA expect any information in the public domain to be known by the employer and lack of knowledge would be hard to defend.
Can candidates see their report?
Candidates can invoke their right of access under the GDPR, to request a copy of their social media report (or any documentation associated with the background screening checks). Any such data subject access requests should be dealt with by the data controller (Vero’s client). Vero will provide reasonable support and assistance with any such requests, as required.
What is the minimum information you need?
In order to conduct social media searches we require the full name, personal email, mobile phone number and some employment history as a minimum. Additional information or context may help make the process easier.
How long will they take?
The typical turnaround time on social media reports is 5 working days.
Is consent under the GDPR required to run these searches?
It’s the responsibility of the data controller (Vero’s client) to determine the legitimacy of these checks under the GDPR. However, typically consent is not relied upon. Nonetheless, we always recommend clients inform the individual that open source checks including social media will be performed.
What if a candidate’s social media account has been hacked and the posts are not theirs?
Please make sure you flag this to Vero so they can make Neotas aware. Neotas will then be able to review the posts in context.
How far do you look back?
Neotas will look at all available content.
Do candidates need to provide their social media handles?
No. Neotas will run searches to independently identify these.
If candidates delete old posts will they still be found?
No. Deleted posts are no longer available for review on social media platforms. But archived versions may still be available to open source intelligence (OSINT) specialists like Neotas.
Can you work in multiple languages?
Yes. With a combination of in-house skills and machine translation tools Neotas can look at almost any language.
Can you see into private accounts?
No. Neotas can only see what’s shared in the public domain and could be viewed by clients, colleagues and friends. But if a candidate’s account is private and they “like” posts that are in the public domain (ie on someone else’s account) that’s not private and would be visible.
How can we balance risk management, compliance and cultural fit vs being overly intrusive?
As a third party, Neotas will review a lot of information that’s never included in the report. They won’t report on protected characteristics or have any bias in their process. Their role is simply to demonstrate the candidate meets the level of honesty and integrity expected of the role. By contrast, if data controllers (Vero’s clients) run social media searches in-house, the ‘footprints’ associated with such searches may leave them exposed yourself to claims of bias because they can’t “un-see” any protected characteristic information. Even if this information was not used in any way as part of their hiring decision, it may be difficult for them to prove this.