Hiring in the Digital Age: Using Social Media in the Hiring Process
It is almost impossible to avoid: social media has become an integral part of all we do, including work. One of the most prevalent places social media is used in the workplace is in the hiring process.
There are two main ways employers use social media when hiring: recruiting candidates and screening potential hires. When used correctly, social media can be extremely helpful, but if used incorrectly, social media can cause some serious problems.
This article will teach you about both the benefits and risks of social media in the hiring process.
Benefits of Using Social Media to Vet Candidates
When hiring, we can’t overlook the easily-accessible, public information available to us through social media. You can use social media to effectively accomplish the following:
Verify Resume and Interview Statements
LinkedIn often provides us an accurate representation of a person’s complete work history. By screening this social media platform, you can confirm that what the candidate said on their resume and in their interview are actually true.
Catch Any Red-Flags Before They Become a Problem
Every HR representative knows that once you hire a candidate, they become your brand’s newest representative, and if they have any tendencies that make them a bad representative, those tendencies become your problem.
Social media can help you catch red flags such as a candidate’s history of discriminatory remarks, belligerent rants, publicly criticizing their employers, or criminal implications. Catching these red flags early protects you from hiring a bad representative of your brand.
During the interview, you only see the candidate at their most professional. Social media gives you a more accurate peek at their personality, allowing you to see if they will be a good fit for your company culture.
Find Talent and Passion
If a candidate is actively sharing thought-provoking articles, silly pictures, or engaging comments about your industry, they are probably excited about the work they do.
See if They Did Their Research on You
If your company is also on social media, you can probably tell if the candidate did their research on you. If they are “liking” your clients or reading about your employees on LinkedIn, they’re trying to engage with your brand and are likely very interested in the position you’re offering.
Potential Hazards of Using Social Media to Vet Candidates
Using social media in the hiring process to screen your candidates can help you choose the right candidate and save you headaches in the future, but approach with caution. Using social media in this way can also raise legal and moral questions that could cause headaches of their own.
Increases Hiring Subjectivity
When you are hiring for a new position, you want to look at competing candidates objectively to choose the candidate who will actually be the best fit for the job.
When you use social media to screen potential hires, you can unintentionally base your decision on judgements you make from their social media. You likely cannot accurately deduce someone’s moral character based on social media, so you will not remain objective when you allow your judgements to cloud the hiring decision.
Increases Risk of Bias
When you see personal information on social media, even with something as silly as their favorite sports team or political background, it can subliminally influence your decision.
You don’t want to hire someone because you think you could be their friend; you want to hire a candidate based on their experience, qualifications, and influence.
Increases Risk of Discrimination
Social media channels disclose information that help you deduce gender, race, age, and even religion or disability.
If you look at social media channels in the screening process, you will have to prove that these factors did not influence your final hiring decision. It’s better to be able to say you did not know these factors than to try to prove that they did not influence your decision.
Increases Risk of Being Unfair
If not every candidate offers the same level of public information on the same social platforms, comparing two candidates can be extremely unfair. Comparing a candidate who allows public access on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to one who has restricted access on Facebook and Instagram is comparing apples to oranges.
You will either favor the one who shared because they shared quality posts or discriminate against them for negative posts, all without knowing the caliber of the other candidate’s social media accounts.
Tips for Using Social Media to Screen Candidates
If you still want the benefits of using social media to screen your candidates, follow these tips to decrease the risks involved:
- Disclose with your candidates that you will be conducting a search so you don’t invade their privacy
- Print out anything that might impact your decision to not hire someone, so that you can prove against discrimination in court
- Create a social media screening policy so that you are consistent with what you are looking for in a candidate’s social media
- Screen only after the initial interviews to avoid bias before you meet the candidate
- Stick to LinkedIn because it will yield the most pertinent professional information
Benefits of Using Social Media to Find Candidates
Social media is not only useful for screening your candidates, it’s also valuable for finding them. Here are some potential benefits from using social media to recruit candidates.
Social media gives you the chance to promote your company, its virtues, and available positions near and far. This wide reach might connect you with the perfect candidate who would not have known about your company otherwise.
LinkedIn is essentially a giant rolodex of candidates sorted by industry and qualifications, so you can target specific types of professionals. This can help you reach the right person quickly.
Having and posting on social media does not cost you anything. Promoting posts and positions on LinkedIn and Facebook does cost money, but it can be cheaper than other job posting methods.
Most large companies are using social media to promote their job openings, and you can stay competitive by following the trend and doing the same.
Concerns for Using Social Media to Find Candidates
Although there aren’t real risks involved in using social media to find candidates, there are still some concerns worth considering.
Remember to Remain Legal
The legality issues here aren’t as dramatic as the discrimination issues from screening candidates, but you do have to remember to include the proper equal employment opportunity and affirmative action statements that come with all job posting advertisements.
Remember You Can’t Reach Everyone Through Social
Even in the digital age, not every qualified candidate uses the same social media channels you do. To reach all qualified candidates, make sure your social media efforts are supplemented by other advertising strategies.
Remember to Maintain Your Social Channels
You wouldn’t want a candidate to click the link to your social channel and see an empty page or worse — an outdated one. To effectively promote positions on social channels, you must have a robust social presence of your own.
How Using a Staffing Company Can Help
Social media’s place in the hiring process is a complicated one. It’s like the relationship you have with your crazy aunt when you’re introducing a new significant other to your family: you can’t ignore her and pretend she doesn’t exist, but you also can’t leave your significant other with her and hope for the best. It’s a hard line to walk.
CareerStart can help. We screen the candidates for you, decreasing both your risk of hiring an ill-fit and running into legal issues or bias; we find the candidates for you so you don’t have to navigate the social media job posting landscape; and we can help you get all the benefits from social media without you having to face the risks.
We are willing and capable to find you the best candidates for your business. Give us a call.
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