Social Media Not Yet a Reliable Way to Gauge Candidates

Julie Shenkman
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Social media sites are a great source of information for recruiters, but relying too much on this information to make hiring decisions does not always produce the best results. Too many recruiters are using social media sites to determine which applicants to interview but in doing so can exclude applicants who would have been great employees. If you are going to use social media sites in the recruitment process, you must understand how to use the information you gather.

Many applicants are careful about how they present themselves on social media sites because they know it matters to potential employers. As a result, they hide their profiles from recruiters or avoid posting personal information. This is why you should not rely solely on social media profiles to make interviewing and hiring decisions. If an applicant does not post a lot of personal information, you have no way to tell if this is a suitable person to employ. You will not be able to make a good decision based on a few posts, so be sure to use several sources of information to find out what you need to know about potential employees.

If you tell applicants you will be checking social media sites, they have the opportunity to sanitize their profiles and remove any text, pictures, or video files that could hurt their chances of getting a job with your company. This makes social media profiles unreliable as a source of hiring information. Most applicants are smart enough to hide their transgressions from potential employers, so you cannot gauge a candidate's suitability based on one profile.

Some HR professionals like to view social media sites to check out each applicant's writing skills or social media savvy. This is not an accurate way to assess someone's skills because users often speak informally and rely on text speak to get their points across. Lots of typos on a page is not an indication that the person can't write. Instead of using social media sites to weed out applicants, use them to verify information. When using social media for businesses, you should also be careful about using the information you find to exclude applicants. Doing so can contribute to discriminatory hiring practices and get your company in legal trouble.

There are many reasons for HR professionals to use social media for businesses. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great sources of information about applicants, but they should not be the only sources you consult during the recruitment process. Viewing a few isolated posts will not help you gauge the quality of a candidate, so focus on other sources of information to find the best employees. Social media sites are an important part of your strategy, but they are only a small piece of the puzzle.



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