Using social to help you hire? Make sure you’re doing it right

Last week, we (briefly) harped on the power of social media and handed out a couple of pointers on how to better your social presence to connect with talent.

So we thought it only timely that in this week’s post, we talk a little bit about how employers are using social to help them hire better, especially when looking for talent to fill social and digital marketing roles. Since this is a fairly new practice with varying risks and advantages, it’s important for employers, big or small, to consider the following.

First, social consists of multiple platforms that generally encourage self-expression, and lots of people are using it to do just that. Sharing their thoughts, dreams, ideas, latest business initiatives, accomplishments, and yes, as we all know, their woes.

Keeping that in mind, the person you just interviewed for a community or social media manager role may not be aware that you’re being a bit of a voyeur. That leaves you with the potential of stumbling on a social profile that isn’t necessarily fitted for professional viewing, but that doesn’t mean your candidate is necessarily any less qualified to do the job.

What you’re looking for is the right person for the job. Not a social saint.

If you’re looking at a social profile and notice some funny business, it’s probably more to do with the fact that people are allowed to be who they are when they’re not at the office. And let’s be real – who we are at the office tends to differ just a little from who we become after 5, when our kids and our responsibilities and our outer worlds take over. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

We’ll leave it to your good judgment to discern between inappropriate but allowable, and highly suggestive of criminal and/or other illegal activity.

Next, remember that a good hiring process should have some structure to it, and that structure includes justification. You ask a potential employee about their skills because you need to know this information to make sure they can do the job well. So be fair – because your decision impacts your company as much as a potential new hire, who could be a social media maven and finally put you on the map. But, not if you don’t hire them because they posted something controversial or highly opinionated on their Facebook page.

It’s like they say, good people are hard to find, so make all judgments with caution and remember that social media is kind of like one big cocktail party where people often enjoy taking advantage of the opportunity to be the center of attention, which can often include being inappropriate.

Last, since checking out social profiles as part of the hiring process is still pretty new, not many businesses have clear-cut guidelines on how to go about it. And since ruling out a great candidate because of a social profile could be to your own detriment, let’s end with two ways to help make sure you’re playing fair.

  1. Make sure you’re looking at a social profile because it’s relevant to the position you’re offering. If you’re hiring a business analyst or an actuary – who cares about what their social profile contains? And more importantly, are you snooping?
  2. If you find something fishy that’s changing your mind, (which was pretty made up a couple minutes ago), ask yourself whether your satisfaction was interrupted by personal or professional judgement. You’re human and it happens, so there’s no shame in checking yourself every once in a while.

Tweet us about how you use social to help you hire!


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