Are You Using Social Media Correctly When Screening Applicants? Maybe Not

This past Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported on a New York City Council hearing over an Internet Privacy Bill that would keep employers from demanding access to an employee’s private social media account.

At that hearing was Sarah De Stefano, a Brooklyn Law School graduate, who said she was denied a job at an upstate New York government legal agency when she refused to add a background check investigator as a Facebook friend.

Using Social Networks to Screen Applicants

It’s no secret that employers use Facebook when screening applicants. According to an article published in The Huffington Post last year, researchers found that nearly 37% of the companies surveyed used social networking sites when screening applicants.

Here are some of things employers were looking for:

  • 65% looked to see if the candidate presented himself/herself professionally
  • About half looked to see if the candidate was a good fit for the company culture
  • 45% wanted to learn more about the candidate’s qualifications
  • 12% looked for reasons not to hire the candidate

In that process, 34% percent of hiring managers said they discovered something about the candidate that caused them to not get the job–the majority of which were related to inappropriate photos or info related to drinking or drug use.

Are Companies Looking for the Wrong Things When Using Facebook to Screen Job Applicants?

Still, it’s not entirely clear whether such behaviors reflect a prospective employee’s work ethic. A recent study conducted at NC State University shows that companies might want to rethink the way they use social media to screen applicants.

Researchers measured participants for personality traits that companies look for in job candidates, such as conscientiousness, agreeableness and extraversion. The participants were then surveyed on their Facebook behavior, in order to see which Facebook behaviors were linked to specific personality traits.

Their findings:

  • “People who posted references to drugs and alcohol were no less conscientious or no more conscientious than those who didn’t,” said Dr. Lisa Thompson, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at the university.
  • Will Stoughton, lead author and Ph.D student at the university, concluded that “companies are eliminating some conscientious job applicants based on erroneous assumptions regarding what social media behavior tells us about the applicants.”

What This Means

Facebook and other social media platforms are great tools for employers–especially when it comes to recruiting. But, with the number of states now putting these Internet Privacy laws into affect, coupled with these recent findings, employers may want to rethink the tools they’re using (and how they’re using them).

What are your thoughts on using social media platforms when screening applicants? Should employers have the right to access private social media accounts? Let us know your thoughts by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Why a Good Candidate Experience is Important

Last week, we published 10 Must-See Infographics for Employers Seeking Talent. One of those infographics, called Candidates Are Customers Too… How do You Treat Yours?, outlined the importance of the candidate experience and how it affects your company.

But, just in case you weren’t convinced, here are a few more reasons why a good candidate experience is vital to your company, whether for your branding or for your bottom line:

A bad candidate experience can affect your employment branding:

Treating candidates right begins way before the interviewing process.

If the application process takes too long, you may be losing a significant amount of applicants. And in addition, surveys have shown the following:

  • A HireRight survey showed that 75% of those surveyed factor in the look and feel of a job posting when making the decision to apply. On average, an applicant will spend 30 seconds looking a post.
  • Data from Smashfly shows that 30% of potential applicants will leave the posting before the application process even begins, while another 30% will leave somewhere during the application process. Sure, you may be weeding out some bad applicants, but you can also be losing some top talent as well.
  • Mystery Applicant showed that 52% of job applicants felt that they were not treated with respect during the hiring process.

The big takeaway from a poor application process? Only 37% of respondents would recommend your company to others for employment, and 34% of job candidates say that their experience during hiring, whether positive or negative, affected their decision to take the position.

A bad candidate experience can affect your company branding and affect your bottom line:

Here are some more stats about bad candidate experiences:

  • 83% tell friends and family, and 64% tell social media. With a bad experience under their belt, and the desire to talk about it, a disgruntled candidate could easily hurt your company’s image.
  • A study conducted by Talent Board, the organization responsible for The Candidate Experience Awards, found that out of all of the job applicants they surveyed, 8% of them would have enough resentment to negatively affect their relationship with the company as consumers.

The Wall Street Journal provides a great example of just how much your company can lose from prospective candidates alone. A candidate who has a bad experience and tries to change your company’s employment branding for worse is one thing–but those same types of candidates can actually affect your bottom line, too.

What all of this means is that when you’re seeking new talent, keeping the candidate (and their needs) in mind is vital.

By providing a good candidate experience, you can do a lot to improve your employment branding and bottom line. If you have any questions about how to use AIM Careerlink to enhance your candidate experience, let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter.