Sharp increase in social media screening of candidates

Criminal record and qualification verification also remain high on recruiters’ radars.

Technology has changed the recruitment landscape, not only in terms of how recruitment is carried out but also in the way potential individuals are screened for available positions.

“There are two primary reasons for the need for change in the recruitment landscape,” explains Jennifer Barkhuizen, head of communications at Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE).

She adds, “The first is that many industries are still facing a hiring crunch because of the economic challenges faced over the past two years. In saying this, we have seen an uptake in hiring starting to emerge. The second is an increasingly desperate pool of unemployed individuals looking for work. With the rising unemployment rate in South Africa, some people will go to any lengths to secure employment, including falsifying their qualifications, misrepresenting their work experience, or hiding the fact that they have a criminal record.”

These factors make for an ever-increasing need for recruiters to ensure that they hire the correct people in the correct roles, the first time. Conducting thorough background screening on potential recruits is not only important – it is critical.

According to Jennifer, the demand for background screening has steadily increased over the past five years and the trend is expected to continue in 2022.

MIE recently released its Background Screening Index, which focuses on trends in the background screening industry over the past year.

“Our most requested checks remain criminal record and qualification verification, but we have also seen a sharp increase in social media screening requests,” says Jennifer. “With well over 30 million social media users in South Africa – and with this number growing daily – social media screening is becoming more of a business imperative than ever before, taking into consideration the reputational risks the misuse of social media can cause to an organisation.”