Social Media and the Job Search: What Hiring Managers Should Know
Plenty of internet ink has been spilled over the topic of social media profiles and their influence on the job search. Much of this discussion has been focused on job seekers, and experts can offer candidates endless advice on how to adjust their social media profile settings and what to do if potential employers ask them for online profile access.
But how do social media issues and online profiles affect hiring managers? If your hiring managers are sifting through applications and looking for ways to use social media to move the search process forward, they should take a few considerations into account.
Before you request access to a candidate’s Facebook profile, know exactly what you’re looking for. Are you planning to reject all candidates who appear to be heavy drinkers? Are you looking to weed out candidates with questionable loyalty to a cause? Maybe the position requires strong sociability and an extensive personal network. If so, make sure you use clear criteria to assess this, such as the number of “friends” on the candidate’s profile. Requesting social profile access can come off as judgmental, unethical, or capricious, but pre-determined and clearly defined standards might protect you from these accusations.
- Ask yourself the following question: What value will a social media profile bring to your understanding of a candidate? How will it help you measure her suitability for a specific position? If you have trouble coming up with an answer, or if the members of your staff disagree on the answer, reconsider. You may simply be complicating your own process, and doing so at a cost to your company’s image and goodwill. Don’t let an unwise policy deter talented applicants.
- If resumes, cover letters, reference checks, criminal background checks, and other traditional application materials are not enough to support your search, ask yourself why not. Maybe there are other ways to improve the accuracy of your process. It’s a good idea to explore all possible options before resorting to a controversial examination of a candidate’s personal life.