Social Media Checks are becoming the norm for many organisations, who want to vet their potential employees’ social media as part of the recruitment process.

Many companies are split on whether to opt for in-house Social Media Checks or outsourced checks, unaware of the unique pros and cons of each.

In this blog, we outline some important aspects that you should consider when deciding whether to outsource or not.


We know that when Social Media Checks are carried out in-house, often, they’re done by someone in the HR team. In conversations with our customers, the same subjects come up again and again. Here are some examples:

“We do these social media background checks, but we don’t really know what we’re doing so we probably only find a fraction of the candidate’s online presence”

“My brilliant HR team shouldn’t really be wasting time doing something they’re not trained to do – there are plenty of other things to do – there’s just not enough time in the day!”

“I didn’t know there were companies out there that do these checks. It’s probably really expensive anyway, it takes us about half an hour per candidate to do a second-rate job.”

HR experts are HR experts, not social media screening experts. We believe they should be focusing on what they’re best at.

Meanwhile, Social Intelligence Officers are using social media to fairly and objectively assess the candidate’s social media presence, relying on powerful screening and online behaviour tools, all without breaching the trust of the employer or candidate.


One of the most convincing arguments against internal Social Media Checks is the potential invasion of privacy.

When companies and schools look into the personal lives of their employees or candidates through their social media accounts, it raises serious questions about boundaries and ethical factors. It’s imperative to respect individual privacy, even if those individuals are connected with your organisation.

By outsourcing Social Media Checks to experts, you can ensure that privacy is safeguarded while still obtaining the necessary information. SP Index only retrieves publicly available information, never asking for the candidate’s social media handles or logins when performing the check.

Legal Issues

Performing internal Social Media Checks could lead to a host of legal and ethical issues. Employers in educational settings may inadvertently access protected information, discriminate based on personal beliefs, or make prejudiced judgments of the candidate’s background and character.

These actions could lead to severe consequences, including legal action, damaged reputation, and loss of trust from stakeholders.

Professionals like SP Index are well-versed in privacy laws and ethical guidelines and know how to remain compliant while researching an individual’s online behaviours, which mitigates the risks involved.

SP Index even has an end-to-end protected characteristics defender who ensures our online checks do not discriminate on the grounds of:

  • age
  • gender reassignment
  • being married or in a civil partnership
  • being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • disability
  • race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation


Social media content is often filled with sarcasm, satire, and alternative humour and memes. Untrained staff may misinterpret these posts or comments, leading to unfair conclusions about an individual’s character or intentions.

At SP Index, the screening process is centred around context. Our Social Intelligence Team interprets all posts, images, videos, likes and shares by analysing the surrounding context to avoid misunderstandings.

Professional Social Media Checks are designed to identify patterns of behaviour, instead of one-off instances, meaning social media reports produced by experts will give a realistic picture of the potential risk to the employer.


In-house pre-employment checks can unintentionally cause bias and prejudice. Those performing the checks may subconsciously or consciously favour certain attributes, beliefs, or characteristics. This bias can lead to unfair decisions in hiring, promotion, or in the recruitment process.

Outsourcing to experts like SP Index ensures an objective, impartial evaluation that adheres to industry standards.

Why Do Some Companies Perform Checks In-House?

Although certain industries, particularly education and healthcare, are increasingly choosing comprehensive Social Media Checks by professionals, some companies continue to leave their online searches to their HR department.

One reason for this may be cost. However, implementing professional online background checks can in fact save money over time, as it promotes a stronger workforce, and allows valuable employees to use their resources wisely.

Another reason for internal checks may be that outsourced background screening can be perceived as time-consuming. Again, this is not the case, as Social Intelligence Officers are bound to complete checks much faster than the average employee, due to their specialist skillset and consistent training.

Certain businesses worry about the bias of conducting Social Media Checks through a third party. Yet, Social Intelligence Teams could not be more cognisant of bias, and they are committed to their role of following objective and compliant screening processes.

Conclusion: Should You Opt for In-House or a Professional Social Media Check Company?

We recognise that there may be a desire to keep things between staff, and that outsourcing has a cost attached to it — but so does using valuable HR resource.

Many organisations, including schools and colleges, have taken the plunge and now outsource these pre-employment background checks to the professionals, demonstrating a compliant company culture that prioritises privacy, resources, and neutrality.

Contact Us

The decision to move to outsourced social media screening is not an easy one, but our sky-high customer satisfaction rate across multiple industries tells you all you need to know.

If you need more convincing, we would love to explore the power of professional Social Media Checks with you. Reach out to us below to start the conversation:

Telephone: 0800 468 1688


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