Social stalker: a hiring manager’s guide

Hiring and recruitment has changed in recent years, and of course, social media now plays a major role.  In this new digital age, hiring managers can now get a much better sense of a future employee just by doing a quick Google search or reviewing personal social media accounts. “Online stalking,” in other words, has become a standard practice when looking for a potential candidate.

Marsha Forde, Director of Human Resources at Workopolis states, “When it comes to recruitment, reviewing blogs, portfolios, and other content can provide additional insight to a candidate’s skill-sets and suitability for your organization, but be mindful not to make biased decisions based on personal preferences or subjective interpretation of a candidate’s profile. And although there is much insight to leverage from social media platforms, don’t allow this impression to replace a diligent hiring process.”

In this ever changing landscape, it’s important for you to know what it is that you actually need to keep an eye out for. By having a set of relevant criteria beforehand, you can save yourself lots of scrolling time and quickly determine if a candidate is the right fit.

To help, we’ve put together a list of things you should consider when ‘stalking’ your potential candidates.

Same, same but different?

One of the most important things you should be looking for when reviewing a candidate’s social media profiles is consistency. LinkedIn has become a great resource for hiring managers as profiles can sometimes give a more in-depth view of the person that resumes often lack. However, basic information like job and educational history should be consistent on the person’s resume and LinkedIn profile. Having different start and finish dates for a job on a resume and LinkedIn could be a red flag.

As the hiring manager you should also consider taking a quick glance at Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts for consistency. Maybe the candidate has listed they are passionate about rescuing animals but posts Instagram photos of their recent hunting trip. While this may not be relevant to their immediate job, lies on a resume, even about the most trivial of topics, can say a lot about a candidate’s integrity and honesty.

Follow for follow

When viewing LinkedIn profiles of candidates, make sure to keep an eye out for the groups they are following or are a part of. This will help to give you a good sense of whether or not they are active in their industry or field of practice. A good employee can get a job done and do what is expected of them, but a great employee is a passionate one. Passionate employees are constantly trying to stay ahead of the times and track new changes in their field, often attending networking events or actively participating in groups


You may be surprised how many people have their social media accounts unlocked to the public. What may surprise you even more is how many of those people post inappropriate photos or statuses. Employees are your company’s brand and the last thing you want is for your brand to be negatively affected by an employee gone rogue. It’s happened before where companies have been forced to fire employees over social media posts. Doing your research upfront can help give you a good idea of how much of a liability this person might be in the future. Keep an eye out for posts or photos that don’t align with your company values or could be perceived as inappropriate.

Going the extra mile

Everyone seems to have hobbies, volunteer experiences, or interests listed on their resume but social stalking is a good way of weeding out those who have active lives outside of the office compared to those who don’t. Take a quick scroll through their Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram profiles. Are they posting about their volunteer experience? Perhaps they are sharing their most recent side gig venture. Whatever it is, having a life outside of work is healthy and shows a well-rounded employee. Hiring someone who takes night classes or has a small business on the side shows initiative and a thirst for learning. Employees with volunteer experience are often compassionate and caring. Even something as simple as being a part of a sports team or community group can mean this candidate is a team player and has passion. Whatever it is that gets the candidate out of the house or office, if they care about it you’ll be sure to find it on their social network.

Leave no stone unturned

Last but not least, do a simple and quick background check. Looking for things like educational qualifications and references are important. Before you even reach out to call a listed reference, do a little bit of stalking and verify these people work at the company they stated they are working for. You’d be surprised how many candidates list fake references. The best way to do this is to look them up on LinkedIn. It seems almost everyone in the business world is a member of LinkedIn, so chances are you’ll be able to find them.

Following up on potential candidates and stalking all of their social media channels could be a full-time job in itself, but it does have its advantages. Remember, though, the best way to get a sense of how someone will fit with your company is in person!


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