The debate is largely over – potential employees expect you’re going to take a look at their social media profiles before hiring them.
However, that doesn’t mean you can start to use irrelevant information to influence your hiring choices. For starters, that’s discrimination. But you’re also hiring a person to perform a job, not become your best mate.
Here are 4 things that you should be checking when reviewing a candidate’s social media profile.
Most resumes include hobbies and interests, so it’s perfectly fine to get a little more detail by checking out social media.
Shared groups in LinkedIn or membership to relevant professional associations can be big plusses for assessing their knowledge and experience.
You can also see potential plusses for cultural fit, or talking points for the interview (many of our team members, for example, play an instrument, so we’ve put our own little band together).
It’s important to point out that a lack of public interests isn’t a negative. They may just be a private social media user.
Racist, sexist or homophobic comments
We’re not talking about questionable comments or posts here, but anything clearly discriminatory or bigoted is a big red flag.
The simple test is: if one of your current employees made that comment on social media, would they be terminated? If so, avoid the candidate. If not, try to ignore it, even if their comments don’t match your own personal views.
Particularly useful on LinkedIn, if you can find a few mutual connections, you’ve got one more reference to call to assess the candidate.
This practice can become dangerous from a privacy perspective, so make sure to ask the candidate about their relationship and whether they would mind if you spoke to the contact in question. Otherwise, your hiring choices may inadvertently contact someone who barely knew the candidate or had a personal dislike for them, which will open you up for discrimination complaints.
Checking for shared contacts is also a great way to get the interview conversations flowing to find out a little more about your prospective employee.
Depending on the role, you may need an employee who will really get behind your brand in the public, digital world.
Have they had a good track record of publicly showing their support of their employer? Do they write blog posts, participate in discussions and generally live and breathe their role? These can be signs they’ll be an engaged employee and a good source of additional publicity and PR.
Of course, if the role they are applying for doesn’t require any public interaction, promotion or networking, don’t make decisions based on these factors.
What other factors do you look our for when screening new employees? Or are you opposed to the practice? Let us know in the comments.