Getting a “Second Look” at Candidates Through Social Media

Recruiting with HRIS and Social MesiaSince the use of social media is such an integral part of the lives of the latest generation of job applicants, it is
also a fantastic resource for finding otherwise unavailable information about them. With this fact in mind, HR
managers have turned, en masse, to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google to find out more about their potential employees.

While resumes and letters are still the bread and butter of every HR recruitment department for determining an applicant’s fittingness, social media sites are an increasingly valuable tool for determining a candidate’s suitability
for a particular position.

LinkedIn and Facebook – Two Excellent Resources for the Recruiter

When considering any candidate for an important position, the LinkedIn and Facebook accounts of the candidate should be scrutinized. In particular, LinkedIn offers a snapshot of a candidate’s seriousness about his career and his network while Facebook provides a glimpse into his lifestyle choices.
It should be noted that the information on either site should never be considered as grounds for outright disconsideration, but any issues revealed can certainly be addressed at a subsequent interview. Even potentially more enlightening, LinkedIn also affords the opportunity to compare a candidate’s “old” resume with the one submitted to your company.

It’s a Fact – Many Applicants Don’t Shield Their Social Networking Persona

An online persona can provide valuable insights into the character and personality of a potential employee. These sites are excellent resources to determine if a candidate will fit into the culture of your company. A careful examination of these profiles can, indeed, help you discriminate between the merely foolish candidates and the truly exceptional ones.
On the other hand, as remarkable as it seems, many applicants seeking gainful employment in positions of significant authority neglect to monitor, evaluate and protect their online persona. In fact, many go out of their way to advertise their less than reputable activities. A candidate who is so cavalier in their attitude towards their own personal information, should give pause to any prudent HR administrator concerned about the safety of their own company’s personnel information.

Photos - The Information Available is Simply Astounding

The culture of narcissism has definitely been embraced by the newest job seekers. In ever increasing numbers, all manner of incriminating photos have begun to populate the web. Never mind that many of the pictures are scandalous or opprobrious in nature, they are profoundly unprofessional. At some point, young professionals will get the message that these types of photos will hurt their career chances but, as of now, that situation is not the case.

Whether it’s a drunken frat party, nude photos or evidence of illegal activity, these photos are a key insight into the potential candidate’s professional acumen. Moral considerations aside, an HR manager would have to be crazy to consider a person for a position who does not have the sense and wherewithal to prevent the public dissemination of their unsavory personal activities.

Is the Information Readily Available?

Routine social media searches can easily be made on multiple candidates in a few minutes or less. No one is advocating that HR managers spend inordinate amounts of time researching the indulgences of their potential new hires but it is a valuable tool for eliminating potentially problematic employees. Moreover, the research is distinctly advantageous for deciding between equally competent and experienced candidates vying for the most valuable positions.

In such cases, public Facebook pages are available about 30% of the time. LinkedIn profiles run much higher – typically 90% – as they are specifically used for networking and to find employment opportunities. Other sites such as Twitter and Tumblr also have high rates of public profiles as their devotees are looking for recognition.

Valid Input but Not the Final Arbiter

These days, almost every professional will have an Internet and social media presence. Some will be formed by the media, others by themselves and still others by their colleagues and contacts. As the 21st century progresses, this information will become more relevant and more important to the recruiting and hiring processes. Social recruiting components are even included in many HRIS systems such as Facebook apps that automate broadcasts, recruiting intelligence to measure success, and reporting of referral sources and hiring rates.

A forward looking HR administrator should be aware of these facts and make it a priority to understand and utilize the social media outlets at their disposal. Only in this way can they most effectively find, recruit and hire the very best employees.

Carolyn Sokol is a frequent contributor to and provides reviews and information on HRIS companies such as Ultipro, ECI Empower, and Sage Abra.