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Online Social Profiling - Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if an individual’s profile information is kept private or locked?

SP Index will only look at content found openly on an individual’s public digital footprint. We look for consistent online behaviours across a person’s full digital footprint including blogs, shopping habits, professional networks, social networks, media news, search engines and any general personal listings. We never attempt to hack past an individual’s privacy settings nor would we ever ask for an individual’s personal login details, passwords or usernames.

Does SP Index violate the individual’s privacy?

SP Index is the only fully complaint Online Social Profiling company in the UK. We never breach an individual’s privacy. We will only look into content found within an individual’s public digital footprint. This is content that has usually been placed online in public domain by the individual themselves. We never extract, reproduce or replicate any content whatsoever during the profiling process. Our reports are completely objective with no consideration or weighting given to protected characteristics at any time. SP Index profiling protects candidates from discrimination by ensuring recruiting companies remain compliant throughout the recruitment process and alleviates the temptation for companies to carry out their own web search which can violate individual’s privacy and in many cases breach the Equality Act 2010.

Does SP Index increase cases of discrimination in the recruitment process?

SP Index profiling removes the risk of discrimination that is prevalent when companies carry out their own online searches. The Equality Act 2010 prevents employers asking about protected characteristics that include sexual orientation, age, disability, gender, marital status, gender reassignment, pregnancy, race and religion. When an employer sees these protected characteristics on an individual’s profile they put themselves at risk of making subjective decisions which can lead to poor recruitment decisions.

How can SP Index be sure that they are profiling the right person?

Before our human researchers carry out their research they must first complete our strict verification and integrity checks. These checks use a combination of data to cross reference an individual’s online digital footprint so that we can be 100% sure of the accuracy of our reports. These sophisticated matrix search techniques ensure that we can produce more accurate results, more quickly and in more detail than any other online employee checks.

How does SP Index ensure that people’s personal data is kept safe?

An individual’s data is not held by the SP Index for longer than is necessary. The type of data which we temporarily hold for research purposes is limited to that which is usually provided within a traditional job application process or on a CV. No sensitive personal data (e.g. bank account details) is used or held by us.

The results of each completed profile is retained by us within our Index databases solely for the purpose of maintaining a market benchmark and providing social data analysis. Any personal details which we may have used during our research such as name, address, DOB is regularly purged from our systems in order to provide complete and permanent anonymity within our Index data.

The SP Index (Social Media Consulting Ltd) is registered as a data controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and complies with all guidelines set out under the UK Data Protection Act.

What sites do we look into when assessing an individual's profile?

SP Index carries out Online Social Profiling in order to assess an individual’s online cognitive style across a wide digital footprint. A digital footprint includes much more than the just most recognised sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and includes all other website onto which an individual has constructed a public profile. This may include publicly available information provided on websites such as Amazon, E-bay, Blogger, Livestream, You Tube and many more. The online landscape for our research is the entire worldwide web and we establish historic behavioural traits across a wide variety of sites in order to establish online cognitive style. Personal dating sites are not included in our research.

What happens if we are not able to identify an individual or if they are not found anywhere online?

SP Index research and experiences shows that the vast majority in the UK has at least some reference online whether it is produced by them or by third parties. In the unlikely event that our researchers are unable to discover any online presence of an individual then our reports clearly highlight this fact. We may ask the company or individual to verify any data provided to us.

Does SP Index slow down the recruitment process?

No. Turnaround time to deliver completed reports is between 2-5 working days and for more urgent requirements during a recruitment campaign we work together with our customers in order to meet these requirements.

Does a business customer of the SP Index need to invest in software to use our services?

When you become an SP Index customer you will be given secure access to our portal. This is accessible via our website and no investment in hardware or any other software is necessary.

What does it cost?

SP Index services vary in price based on type of report , volumes ordered and the combination of our services that are right for your business. For a tailored quote for your business please contact us 0845 177 0700

Why shouldn't my business carry out our own online social media checks?

Carrying out your own online searches is time consuming, unreliable, likely to be inaccurate and in many cases breaches legislation designed to protect both your prospective employees and your business from legal issues. By using a compliant service from SP Index you can implement a fair and legal online search into your decision making process without risk of breaching any UK legislation.

How is SP Index different to a Google search?

Google searching is quick but reading and clicking into hundreds of different sites to identify an individual accurately would be impossible for a company. SP Index has developed sophisticated searching techniques to accurately locate information quickly. A simple google search will not generate all combinations of results in the same way our researchers can. 

Does SP Index replace traditional pre-employment checking?

SP Index looks into the online behvioural style and trends found within an individual’s digital footprint. We only report on what is found online. Traditional pre-employment checks such as DBS, Credit Checks and references can be used to compliment and offer additional understanding of an individual. SP Index does not replace traditional checking because we concentrate on different pools of information.

What if the results in a report are challenged by an individual?

In the event an employer makes an adverse decision on an individual based on the results of an SP Index report the candidate is entitled to order their own personal report. Included within this report will be all profile indicators as seen by the employer as well guidance notes. If an individual would like detailed information on how to improve their online profile they can speak to one of our advisors or can attend one of our monthly training workshops.

What does a report look like and contain?

You can view sample reports here . For a further explanation of the value these reports and the benefit to your business please contact us. You can use the contact form on the right of this page or call 0845 177 0700.

Can SP Index offer my business a return on my investment?

SP Index can offer proven, tangible return on investment for all customers. The main areas our clients see ROI are reduced attrition levels, reduced recruitment costs, saved time, saved money, improved online identity of brand and services, and reduced risk of tribunal costs linked to social media misuse.

Can SP Index integrate with our current pre-employment screening processes?

All companies have slightly different processes, some carry out pre-employment checks in-house, some outsource at offer stage to dedicated partners. SP Index is able to fit with any organisations current processes. In all cases we are able to add value to existing processes.

What is a social media policy? How can I create one that is relevant to my business?

A social media policy is a company policy that clearly defines which is acceptable and unacceptable use of social media by its employees. In order to have a policy that is relevant to your workforce you can seek advice from one of our experts or you can enrol onto one of our workshops.

How can I order an Online Social Profile report about myself so that I can see what my profile looks like?

You can order your own Online Social Profile here.


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