Javascript must be enabled for the correct page display

Why HRIS systems need social media screening

By: Michael Okada | 7 mins read |
HRIS is an acronym for “Human Resources Information System”, and these systems are an integral part of a company’s HR operations, integrating many of the day-to-day activities and processes to keep the HR department running smoothly. In this article, we’ll cover what HRIS systems do, the rise of social media and its impact on HR, and why your HRIS system absolutely needs social media screening capabilities.

What do HRIS systems do?

Some of the most important functions of HRIS and human resources in general, is recruiting, vetting, and hiring talent. While HRIS systems have been around since the 1950s, the internet has revolutionized how people communicate and interact with each other. This extends to both sides of the hiring process, from candidates on the job hunt to companies recruiting new talent. But if the advent of the internet sparked the match, the rise of social media was an atomic bomb — an explosive disruptor to the hiring process that companies ignore at their own risk.

HRIS vs. HRMS vs. HCM: What’s the difference?

HRIS goes by a few different names depending on who you’re talking to, but the most common terms for it are: 
  • HRIS
  • HRIS system
  • HRIS software
  • HRMS
  • HCM
While that may look like a lot of terms, most HR professionals use them interchangeably and are generally talking about the same thing.  But what do they all mean? Let’s take a look:

HRIS and its variants

As mentioned earlier, HRIS stands for “Human Resources Information System”, but sometimes that “S” at the end stands for “software” instead. While some might argue it’s unnecessary to include “software” or “system” after HRIS — whether that “S” means “system” or “software” is up for debate, so some prefer to include one of those terms after HRIS for the sake of clarity or personal preference, even if it might be redundant. Calling it an ‘HRIS system’ or ‘HRIS software’ makes it kind of like the HR version of DC Comics, because “DC” originally stood for “Detective Comics”, which means the creator of Batman and Superman’s official name is technically “Detective Comics Comics”. (So if you’ve ever thought your HR department is full of superheroes, maybe this is part of the reason why!)


Sometimes, these HRIS systems are called HRMS instead, which stands for Human Resource Management System (or software), and for those looking to avoid these redundant naming conventions entirely, you might call it an HCM system, where HCM stands for “Human Capital Management”.

Social media’s impact on the HR hiring process 

The rise of social media has changed our expectations of privacy because now we can share practically anything we want about ourselves online. In a world where everyone can see our pictures, posts, and thoughts online, the boundaries between our work and personal lives have been blurred like never before. Recent studies show that 70% of employers are now using social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. And if your HRIS hasn’t been updated in the last 15-20 years, it’s probably woefully out-of-date because it’s from the pre-social media era which means your company may lack the ability to screen a candidate’s social media history altogether. 

Why your HRIS system needs social media screening

Here are a few of the biggest reasons why your HRIS system needs social media screening:

1. Find talent that aligns with your values

Social media screening can help you identify the best talent and thought-leaders for your company through their use of social media – from their posts, comments, likes and even hashtags.  Advanced social media screening tools like VN Secure can scan a candidate's social media history for a number of different risk categories, such as violence, profanity, hate speech, suggestive content, and more.These tools even allow you to create keyword flags that alert you if any questionable content is discovered. Paired with sentiment analysis, an in-depth historical background check that scans all the way back to an account’s first post ever is an excellent investment that will pay for itself many times over. Not only does it help you find the right candidates, but it filters out the wrong ones as well.

2. Go beyond criminal record checks

A criminal record check just isn’t enough these days. While it may show you whether a candidate has ever been convicted or charged with a crime, it does not take into account their social media history, which can often be much more revealing about someone’s true personality, nature, and beliefs.  Since being racist, sexist, or homophobic isn’t against the law (unless it qualifies as an actual hate crime), this means that simply because someone clears a criminal record check, it doesn’t mean they’re automatically going to be a good fit for your company culture. There’s so much more that companies need to consider when hiring these days because now, more than ever, your employees are representatives of your company, and that extends to their social media use, both on and off the clock. So don’t let a single bad tweet or post from an employee’s social media past come back to haunt your company. Instead, you can prevent it from ever happening by running a complete social media background check before the candidate is even hired in the first place.

3. Protect the company’s image and reputation

87% of executives believe reputation risk is one of the biggest threats to their companies, according to Deloitte, and an HRIS system without social screening capabilities puts your company at a massive disadvantage and risk — it leaves your company vulnerable to potentially catastrophic reputational damage because you’re basically hiring without any filters. Protecting your company’s reputation is particularly important in this era where more and more consumers prefer supporting socially responsible brands that align with their own personal values. As employees are one of your brand’s best ambassadors, what they say and do impacts your company whether you like it or not. Think of all the cases where someone did something wrong or got called out for bad behavior, only for it to go viral. It doesn’t take long for online sleuths to find their name, where they live, and yes, their employer, which can lead to a company getting review-bombed into oblivion — all because of an employee’s poorly thought-out post that went viral without you even knowing.

4. Measure everything and continuously improve

2.5 quintillion bytes of data were created every single day in 2021 and that number is expected to double in 2023. For reference, 1 quintillion bytes is equal to 1 billion gigabytes! That means there’s a wealth of data at our fingertips, and the most successful companies are the ones who are able to mine that data for important trends, patterns, and insights that give them a competitive edge over everyone else. HR is no different, and an automated social screening tool can help your HRIS capture more data than ever before, which can then be further analyzed to make your company’s recruitment and hiring processes even better. For example, if you’ve been noticing a lack of diversity in your applicants, you can analyze the data to figure out why and adjust accordingly. Your company will also be able to better identify areas of strengths and weaknesses when it comes to hiring and attracting top talent, and acting on them can help lead to a positive workplace culture of continuous improvement and growth.

5. Streamline the hiring and vetting processes

Hiring is expensive and it takes up precious time and resources, but most HRIS systems use some form of Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to make things more efficient. The purpose of ATS is to screen resumes and shortlist suitable candidates whose resumes contain the right keywords while having the experience mentioned in the job description. Before ATS came about, the process was much more labor-intensive and time-consuming because it was performed manually by people using pen and paper. A single job posting can receive anywhere from a dozen applications to over 200 depending on where your company posts their open positions, and if done manually,  processing the applications could be a full-time job in itself. In much the same way, social media screening software automates the process of checking a candidate’s social media history for inappropriate posts to ensure a good cultural fit. This saves HR teams from having to manually scroll back through over a decades-worth of social media posts, images, and videos because many social media screening tools are made to seamlessly integrate into your existing HRIS.

6. Eliminate unconscious bias

There are a lot of unconscious biases that can creep into the hiring process if you’re not careful.  Using an automated social screening tool can remove bias, while also removing the chances of human error because ideally, you want the best candidate to come out on top. But the thing about unconscious biases is that they’re so ingrained that we’re not even aware we are acting on them. And it can be something that’s not even relevant or important to the job. Like if you’re a dog person and you absolutely hate cats, what happens if you find out that a candidate has 10 cats because they’re always posting about them on social media?  No matter how objective you try to be, that fact can still unconsciously paint that candidate in a negative light and decrease your chances of hiring them (although that probably would NOT be your official reason for the rejection). Same thing can happen if the candidate supports the wrong sports team or likes a band that sucks (in your opinion). Social media has made it easier than ever to find this kind of potentially polarizing information and these unconscious biases can negatively affect not just the hiring process but also your overall culture, while leading to a lack of diversity in both backgrounds and thoughts as well.

Social media screening: The latest evolution in HRIS

If your company’s HRIS doesn’t already do social media screening, you risk being left behind. Not only will your HR team be eternally grateful, but you’ll also be able to reap the rewards with the following benefits:
  1. Find talent that aligns with brand values
  2. Go beyond criminal record checks
  3. Protect the company’s image and reputation
  4. Measure everything and continuously improve
  5. Streamline the hiring process
  6. Eliminate unconscious bias
Viral Nation_Secure is the most advanced social media screening platform on the market that allows you to scan hundreds of social media profiles with the click of a button and perform 24/7 monitoring to protect your brand reputation.
_About the author
Michael Okada

As Content Manager, Mike brings over 10+ years of content marketing experience to the Corporate Marketing team. He is a veteran writer who specializes in engaging, well-written, and accessible content, and he’s covered a range of verticals including SaaS, marketing, entertainment, journalism, and cannabis. At Viral Nation, he’s handled technical writing and copywriting, in addition to owning the blog and creating numerous case studies that showcase some of Viral Nation’s best work. In his off-time, Mike dabbles in music, rap, and spoken word poetry, and he excels at making his friends and colleagues roll their eyes at his cringe-level puns.