Social Media

Social Media Search on Prospective Employees: Top Guidelines for Employers

More and more employers turn to social media when evaluating an applicant’s credentials and credibility. Almost half of all companies go to popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to check out what their prospective employees have been up to and use this information to determine whether they’re fit for the job opening or not.

As it turns out, there’s a myriad of information that can be obtained just by looking at a person’s Facebook page, photos and status posts. Employers can find details about one’s personality, character, judgment, perspective, habits, and activities. Social media accounts can also reveal a person’s political affiliation, memberships, religious beliefs, relationships, disabilities and medical conditions, family medical history, and so on.

On top of these, social media sites have become the new “watercooler.” This means that employees now go to networking websites to talk to other people about their job, boss, and working conditions. Often, you’ll find employees making complaints about their work or even negative comments about their bosses or colleagues. All this information can affect a candidate’s application.

If you’re an employer planning to conduct a social media search on your applicants, here are some guidelines on how to do it right.

Search only for public content. Employers should never require applicants to disclose their usernames and passwords, and access social media accounts, even with the person’s consent. It’s a breach of privacy.

Designate a social media researcher. The social media researcher should only review the public content on the networking sites and not be involved in the hiring process itself. This is to ensure objective decision-making throughout the application process.

Look for public content using a standard procedure. If your search only includes Facebook and Twitter, use only these sites for all candidates.

Inform the applicant of your company’s practice of conducting social media searches.

Make sure that you’re looking at the right social media content. An applicant with a common name like Michael Smith will yield a lot of results. So it’s possible that you’re reviewing the wrong person. Double-check the profile photo. In case this is not available, ask the applicant to provide you with a link to his or her public account.

Social media search can be beneficial to your employment hiring process. Just remember to follow these guidelines to ensure that you do not step out of boundaries.

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