Screening Candidates through Social Media

When verifying facts from a traditional resume, hiring managers have become proficient in using social media to fact check. One human resources manager told us recently that LinkedIn is the first place to look when making sure applicants are honest on their resumes. She also mentioned the power in digging through social media to see if there are any shared networks or people who could serve as an unofficial reference.

So, as a hiring manager, how can you use social media in the candidate screening process? Here’s what we think…

First and foremost, check LinkedIn. Professionals have the opportunity to use LinkedIn as an online resume of sorts by plugging vital information into their profiles. Pay attention to what was submitted on each traditional resume and use LinkedIn as a way to check out networks and interests as well as verify education and previous employment. And, if you’re lucky, applicants will have filled out valuable information that should correspond with their traditional resume including employment history, every college course ever completed, and skill-sets. Beware though…LinkedIn tells each user who has viewed their profile.

Twitter and Facebook are a different story. These social media platforms will provide more insight into an applicant’s personality and character. However, if your applicant is smart, they will have utilized the handy privacy settings provided by Twitter and Facebook to restrict access to photos and posts. In some case, the profile may be hidden completely and unable to be discovered without them adding you first.

There has been much debate over recent years concerning the legalities of using social media as a hiring screen. Follow these tips and tricks to avoid any legality issues…

 

  1. Leave the social media screening up to HR. They will be more likely to know what can and cannot be used in the decision-making process.

  2. Process, process, process. Once your company decides what aspects of social media are relevant, remain consistent. It is important to judge each candidate based on the same criteria.

  3. Remember that not everyone has a social media presence when screening candidates. You could easily overlook a highly qualified candidate based on the fact that they either do not have a social media presence or they have used privacy options to hide their profiles.

  4. Give prior notice to candidates that you will be assessing social media as a part of the screening process. Not only does this eliminate any legality issues, it also gives those using privacy settings the chance to open their profiles up for use.

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