Social media screening has become increasingly popular with companies. Traditionally, it’s used to find additional information about candidates beyond what is contained on their resumes including as a way to learn details that reflect a job seeker’s beliefs and personality.
While social media screening can be beneficial, the approach also comes with some drawbacks. Here are some of the pros and cons of using social media screening to find your ideal candidate.
Pro: More Than a Resume
By design, a resume is a fairly short document, usually being limited to one or two pages. Even if the applicant provides a cover letter, you’re only getting a glimpse into their skills, abilities, and experiences.
Social media screening is a great tool for learning about a job seeker’s capabilities beyond what can be expressed in a resume. You may find blog posts that highlight their knowledge as well as their skill with the written word. Information about less applicable, though still potentially valuable, skills may also be readily available. Portfolios of past work may also be accessible through their social media pages.
By screening their social media accounts, you can learn a lot of helpful information about who a candidate is as a professional, giving you a better ideal if you want to continue considering them for the role.
Con: Protected Status Details
Most social media users reveal a significant amount of information on their profiles, including items that could associate them with a protected group. For example, a person’s picture may allow you to determine their national origin, race, gender, and approximate age. Posts or affiliation with certain groups may relate to a disability they have or religious preferences.
Even if you did not intend to find these details, using them in a hiring decision could be viewed as discrimination. This could lead to a lawsuit or other forms of legal trouble.
Pro: Spotting Red Flags Early
While perusing through an applicant’s social media profiles, you may discover behaviors or incidents that show the person might not be the ideal employee. Posts that include racist or sexist remarks should be considered a red flag. Images that show irresponsible behavior or messages that speak poorly of their current employer are also warning signs. Even poor writing skills may suggest you may want to move on to another candidate, especially if written communication is a substantial part of the job.
Con: Equal Opportunity Concerns
A large portion of the popular maintains social media accounts. However, not everyone takes part in social media, and some of the reasoning is both logical and justifiable. If a lack of active accounts or profiles leads you to discard a candidate, then the job seeker may be inclined to file a lawsuit over that decision.
If you do use social media screening, ensuring that those who don’t maintain a presence aren’t immediately cut from contention is a must. Otherwise, you might not only open yourself up to a lawsuit but could also miss out on a great candidate.
Ultimately, social media screening can be a powerful tool, but it needs to be managed wisely and should only be a small part of the larger process. If you are interested in learning more or are seeking candidates for your vacant positions, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your business needs today and see how our services can benefit you.
When candidates send in a resume and answer questions at interviews, they do their best to present themselves in a good light. Answers are rehearsed, and even questions like "What is your greatest weakness" have canned answers that subtly put a positive shine on the candidate.
Cutting through the spin means finding out things the candidates won't tell you directly. One way to do that is through speaking to references. The problem with references, though, is that they're pre-selected by the candidate and you can be pretty sure they'll also paint a positive picture. Even if a reference wanted to present a complete picture of the candidate, faults and all, corporate policies often prevent them from doing anything more than confirming dates of employment.
So you have to do a little digging to find out more about the candidate. Background checks have their place, but they tend to focus on big issues like criminal records or lies about earned degrees. Sometimes it's the smaller things in how a candidate conducts themselves in their normal lives that will impact your organization.
Fortunately, these days it's easy to observe a candidate's behavior outside the interview room. Candidates put their uncensored selves online in social media like Facebook and Twitter. More than half of employers looked at candidates' profiles. Should you? Here are the kinds of things you might find out.
The candidate brags about drug or alcohol use.
If your company has a serious drug-free policy, anecdotes about illegal substance use should throw up a red flag.
The candidate expresses intolerant opinions.
Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but you need to maintain a non-hostile workplace. A candidate who puts racist or sexist opinions on their profile may bring them to the workplace, placing you at legal risk.
The candidate bad-mouths their current employer.
If you hire this person, your company becomes their current employer. Do you want them publicly posting negative opinions about your business?
Not everything you learn from a social media profile should factor into a hiring decision. Social pages often reveal things like marital status or religious affiliation, neither of which should be used as part of the candidate review. But hopefully you'll identify some positive characteristics of the candidate from their profile that didn't come up during an interview, such as their active participation in a charity.
Don't forget to review the candidates' profiles on professionally oriented social media sites like LinkedIn as well. Profiles there should appear professional and support the candidates' qualifications. If you can't find a profile for the candidate, that's a significant sign as well.
Hiring decisions should be based on a well-rounded picture of the candidate. Today's social media sites can help paint a large piece of that picture. Combining a review of a candidate's social media activity with their credentials and formal qualifications can help you understand what the candidate will bring to the office and help you make the best possible hiring decision.