Today, it is quite common for an employer or talent acquisition professional to screen the social media behavior or presence of a candidate before hiring him/her. Yes, social media has emerged as a crucial aspect for hiring the right candidate. In fact, more and more number of recruiters and HR personnel are using social media channels to check whether a candidate has badmouthed his/her previous organization or posted unethical images or whatsoever.
Looking from the employer’s point of view, gathering such data pertaining to a candidate, which goes beyond the traditional cover letter and resume, makes perfect sense. In addition, social media provides unfiltered and honest information about a person’s opinions and persona.
A billion-dollar question here is; should HR and talent acquisition experts worry about a social media status or post that was published two years ago of a candidate indulging in some random drinking game? Although screening social media feeds is very common these days, Human resource and recruitment professionals should execute it with extreme caution.
Make sure that your organization is protected lawfully when screening potential candidates on social media. You cannot judge or label a candidate based on his/her caste, race, religion, ethnicity, etc. This goes for job interviews as well and there should be a well-defined interview protocol pertaining to what the interviewer can ask and what he/she can’t. Above all, ensure that all the interview questions, as well as social media screenings, are relevant to the candidate’s ability and willingness to take up the job.
Tread with caution
Though employers might have the legal right to observe a candidate’s online presence and behavior of a potential candidate, it should be carried out with extreme caution. Yes, it is likely for the process to turn and become a fishing expedition where the employer is all out there looking out for possible reasons not to hire a candidate.
In case you are looking up a candidate on social media, make sure to meet that candidate in person before going online. This would greatly curb favoritism if any. For example, the candidate might lack a strong grip on his/her grammar when posting on social media channels and this might give out an impression that he/she is not good at effective communication. Further, when the same candidate emerges with some excellent write-ups, he/she might be capable of taking up the job. It is very common to have differences when it comes to identifying the personality of an individual in workplace and on social media.
Not hiring a person simply because of his social media post is not only unfair, but it could also sabotage your repute as an employer. In today’s competitive business ecosystem, it is important for a business to hire and retain best talents. Now when HR rejects a top candidate simply because of his/her social media posts, the organization tends to lose.
As organizations all over the world are rapidly embracing the concept of social media recruitment, HR professionals and talent acquisition people should be cautious about how they practice this recruitment strategy.