There is an argument to be made that all of this 'overchecking' of these types of information is not actually beneficial for employers. As an article on news.com.au, written by Vodafone Australia, points out: when checking into a person's activity on social media, the employer must understand that this is an 'edited' version of the person's life and one that is skewed towards a non-professional viewpoint. As such it may not be as helpful as other forms of pre-employment checks.
This type of checking on employees and potential employees may not actually benefit companies in the long run as they may screen or consider individuals based upon activities and actions that may or may not affect their business performance or indicate how they will act in a professional setting.
Some will argue that you can delve further into a person's professional history through sites such as LinkedIn. However, while this site will provide possible further information on a person's employment history and should certainly be checked, it cannot tell much about an applicant's history beyond providing a digital resume of their past experience, connections the person has and recommendations they have received. Moreover, it skews towards showing individuals in a positive light as the individual is actively controlling what appears on their profile with the express purpose of networking and finding employment.
The article also recommends that employers check into an applicant's references, seek to verify their listed qualifications, and,depending on the role, possibly perform a credit check and a police check to determine how the applicant handles their finances and if they are in financial trouble.
By discovering whether a candidate is accurately and honestly listing their qualifications and describing their job history, an employer can learn much more pertinent information about them than they can be simply searching social media websites. References in particular should be able to speak about the individual's employment history and how they perform on the job, which can be extremely useful to potential new employers.
Police Checks as a Hiring Tool
As part of the arsenal of pre-employment checks that are conducted, companies should consider requesting current police checks from potential employees to gather more information on a person's background. While not strictly work-focussed, these checks allow employers to gain important information in regards to any criminal offences the individual has committed in the past, which will help them to judge whether the person is suitable for the role.
Whereas social media profiles may create an unfair bias and judgement of a person based on little more than, potentially, compromising photographs, status updates, messages, and so on, a police history check will provide the potential employer with hard evidence about the type of person they are considering hiring. While it is not a fool-proof system and certain leeway must be given to allow candidates the benefit of the doubt in having changed their behaviour, one can argue that it is certainly preferable to social media as a means of gathering work-relevant information about a candidate.
Choosing to employ someone can be fraught with difficulty, and companies wish to have peace of mind that they have hired the right individual. Rather than conducting checks on candidates' social media profiles, businesses would do better to check references and qualifications, credit histories if appropriate, and ask for current police checks from candidates. The knowledge gained from these checks will serve them well in assessing candidates.