If you aren’t factoring social media profiles into your final hiring decisions, that’s fine. Social media reviews aren’t a necessary aspect of due diligence; you aren’t obligated to examine them and candidates certainly aren’t obligated to share them openly or even maintain them at all. But in spite of its limitations, a Facebook review can take less than ten minutes to complete, and it offers an extremely low cost, low-risk way of getting to know your candidate before you enter into a lasting commitment. If you have ten minutes and zero dollars to spare on a search, which you probably do, why not take advantage of this opportunity and give yourself a little extra data on which to base your decision? As you do so, keep these tips in mind.
1. Use the profile review to gather broad impressions and scan for red flags. Keep these two goals at the forefront of your thoughts as you skim through a candidate’s publically available pictures and posts. Will you recognize red flags when you see them? Will they include negative remarks about former employers? Reckless sharing of company secrets and proprietary information? Explicit language? Photos of the candidate clowning around with her friends in ways that might embarrass the company? Know what you’re looking for before you start your search.
2. Get a sense of the candidate’s interpersonal style. Does she seem like an introvert or an extrovert? Does she have a specific hobby that seems to occupy most of her personal time? You can use this kind of information to start your relationship off on the right foot, and you can use hobbies, travel, or pets as conversational fodder during the interview.
3. Never ask for profile passwords, of course. This is unethical, off-putting, and just plain foolish. Whatever extra information you hope to gain with this move won’t measure up against the harm you’ll be doing to your company’s reputation. And besides, most self-respecting candidates will simply say no. If you’d like, you can ask candidates to “friend” you or accept you as a follower. Otherwise, review publically available information only.
4. Don’t take the information you find too seriously, and if the results of your search call an otherwise promising candidacy into question, ask the applicant to confirm your suspicions before you reject him outright. Did you really see what you think you saw in that photo? Was that questionable status update serious or ironic? Before you make an expensive, silly hiring mistake based on the information you find on a Facebook page, pause and verify.
For more information on how to use all the data at your disposal to make savvy hiring decisions, reach out to the AZ staffing pros at the Accent Hiring Group.