What can you tell about a person from their tweets, posts, and pins? A lot, it turns out.
You’ve hired someone whom you believed would be a great fit for your organization, but they’ve turned out to be an absolute disaster! What went wrong? And how can you avoid it in the future?
The answer might be as easy as doing a little social media screening. In 2015, researched potential employees’ social media profiles before calling them in for an interview, and that number is likely to continue rising.
If you aren’t screening candidates using social media, it may be time to start. You may be surprised at the level of insight you can get by taking a look at a person’s Facebook page or blog. After all, active social media users share quite a bit of information that can give you insight into their lifestyle, personality, behaviors, and goals.
If you still aren’t convinced, keep reading. Here are five reasons that you should consider checking out your candidates on social media.
1. To Find Any Red Flags
In a perfect world, you would only find positive things when you looked at a potential employee’s social media pages. Unfortunately, there will be times when you find red flags.
For example, you may find that a candidate lied on their resume, uses social media to bully people, or routinely bad mouths previous employers and coworkers. Hiring managers have even found evidence of drug use, stealing, and the disclosure of confidential information about customers. While it’s always disappointing to find such things, it’s worlds better than accidentally hiring someone who engages in unsavory, unethical, or even illegal behavior.
2. To Assess Their Written Communication Skills
Kris Dunn, founder of popular HR blog , once said, “When in doubt, ” Assess a potential hire’s writing and communication skills y asking yourself the following questions about their social media presence:
- When they write posts, how clearly do they communicate the points they are trying to make?
- Does the candidate use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation (taking into consideration that social media communication is, by nature, casual)?
- How do they conduct themselves if somebody criticizes what they have written or offers an opposing view?
- If a conversation turns contentious, how do they conduct themselves?
- Are they able to engage in written exchanges that are thoughtful, interesting, and courteous?
The answers to each of these questions may give you an idea of how effective they will be communicating with coworkers and customers.
3. To Learn About Their Ambitions
Whom a potential candidate follows in a personal sense shouldn’t really matter. However, the people and entities that they follow and who follow them for professional reasons can lead you to some really important information.
First, if you have a candidate who is being followed by influencers in your industry, and they are engaging in conversations with them, that’s a pretty big deal. When you learn which people and companies a potential hire is following, that can also give you some great insight into that person’s goals and ambitions. Here are a few examples:
- If a candidate is following a lot of brands in a particular region, they may have a long term goal of seeking employment in that region.
- If they follow several companies that are in a very specific niche, it could be likely that’s where they would like to work in the future.
Following multiple companies with similar cultures might be an indication of the work environment a candidate is seeking.
4. To Determine Cultural Fit
The overall tone of a person’s social media posts are often a great insight into their real-life personality. A person who continually cracks jokes and attempts to turn conversations into funny banter might be a great fit for a customer service role where they often need to de-escalate tense situations. However, if you maintain a serious, task oriented, work environment, they may not be a great fit.
Two caveats to this:
First, keep in mind that many people are bit more bold when posting on social media, while they may be much more reserved in real life.
Second, you should never judge somebody by a single social media post. After all, everybody has days where they are moodier than usual, or just a bit off for one reason or another. Remember to consider things in context rather than a vacuum.
5. To Learn About a Candidate’s Creativity And Curiosity
If you want a candidate who is a creative problem solver, who can think outside of the box, and who will approach difficult situations in a thoughtful manner, you may want to check out what they post on social media. Are the posts that they write and share funny, thoughtful, and informative? If they are, you are likely looking at a great prospect. If you are in a niche where a talent for art or design is key, see if your prospect is on Pinterest or Tumblr. Both platforms are frequently used for showcasing creative work.
How do you get to know your candidates?
Just like candidates should do their homework on your company, it would benefit you to get to know your candidates before booking the interview or making the offer. By taking a few moments to conduct social media screening, you can quickly learn a lot about them. Sometimes what you learn will be disappointing, but there may also be times in which a candidate becomes even more attractive because of what you learn from their social media accounts.
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Daniela McVicker is an author who believes that success in the future is about knowing the ideas that allow you to manage and master this universe of information. Currently works as an editor for and contributes articles to a number of educational sites.