Social Media as a Hiring Tool?

Social media platforms have mixed the personal and professional lives of people for all to see. As a result, more companies are incorporating social media checks into their hiring processes to gain a better sense of workplace fit for a potential hire.

According to the 2018 Reputation Management Study, 18% of employers state that they perform social media checks during the hiring process, while 17% of employers are considering incorporating social media checks in the future. If your company is interested in incorporating social media checks into the hiring process, here are a few things you should consider:

Formalize a Policy

A major concern of social media checks is legality. In the United States, it is legal for companies to perform social media checks on candidates. Avoid bias during your social media checks by creating a formal structure to follow for each candidate. This can include a policy that instructs your hiring managers on what exactly they should look for when conducting a check (and even what they SHOULDN’T look for). When creating a policy, equality is key. Make sure checks are done on the same platforms for all candidates.

Look for Soft Skills

Social media allows for a window into a candidate’s personality that interviews alone do not always allow. The same study mentioned earlier also noted that 48% of candidates believe their social media is important to employers. As a result, many candidates tailor their social media presence to their field of expertise. This highlights soft skills such as attention to detail and passion. Accounts that are not entirely dedicated to their profession can still reflect on soft skills such as a candidate’s ability to communicate and their general professionalism.

Be Aware of Warning Signs

Checking social media can also warn of a potentially bad hire. One suggestion from ForrestFirm is that employers include documentation from social media checks in a candidate’s report. One benefit of including documentation, such as screenshots, is that you can later use this information during the interview process to ask about questionable behavior from an otherwise perfect candidate. Social media checks can also reveal a candidate’s relationship with former employers. A red flag of a bad candidate is an online tendency to publicly bad mouth former employers or colleagues.

Supplement Your Interviews

Being consistent about when you conduct social media checks on candidates allows you to maintain fair and equal treatment during the hiring process. Many employers conduct social media checks after an initial phone interview to gain a better sense of a candidate’s personality prior to the in-person interview. This allows you to better determine if the candidate is a good culture fit for your office. But as always, make sure you avoid using information that relates to characteristics protected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Unconscious bias is something that affects everyone, but it’s important to remember that the goal of any screening tactic is to find the best person for the job, not to find your next best friend.