With more and more people engaging in social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn among many others, the number of companies scouring social media sites for future employees is also increasing at a rapid rate.
While the traditional resume contains only a small chunk of information, social media accounts open the door to the potential employee’s work, personality, interests and so on. In fact, some professionals use their social media accounts to showcase their works, giving you an initial preview of their professional abilities.
As an HR manager, it’s tempting to join the social media band wagon. But before you go any further into clicking that candidate’s Facebook profile, let’s first take a look at the both positive and negative sides of incorporating social media in the recruitment process.
The Pros of Using Social Media in the Recruiting Process
Reduces Time for Employers
A typical recruitment process could be long and tiring for both the employer and potential employee. But, the information found on a candidate’s social media account, such as statuses, tweets, and comments, could also offer a glimpse into your applicant’s personality, as well as show opinions on a variety of topics. People are likely to be more upfront on social media, as compared to when they are in an interview, leaving HR managers an opportunity to look for inappropriate and discriminatory activity—a no-no for a company with a good reputation.
In a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 34 percent of HR managers who conduct social media research on candidates claim to have found content that made them reject a job application. Twenty eight percent of these content are discriminatory statements on sensitive topics such as gender, race, and religion, among others.
A Glimpse into the Future for the Candidate
Social media sites can also greatly reduce the time needed for candidates to properly vet employers. It provides a glimpse into the company culture without going through the face-to-face interview.
THE ConS OF USING SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE RECRUITING PROCESS
While there are numerous benefits for using social media in the recruitment process, there are also some unforeseen setbacks that come with doing so.
For those of us who work in the recruitment industry, looking up candidates on social networking sites may seem harmless. No one would even know, right? But according to a 2013 study conducted by Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), job seekers do not believe that avoiding social media presence or keeping one that is fake or neutral, is not a prerequisite to getting into a good job. Although the internet basically is a public realm, some people feel uncomfortable with employees checking on their accounts, as they consider these their ‘personal’ bubbles.
Another consequence of depending on social media in recruitment is the tendency for biases to arise. Unknowingly, an employer can be biased toward people with good social media presence, as compared to people who are not as active online.
Missing and/or Inaccurate Information
It can be assumed that at this age, people who look for jobs probably have at least one social media account. But there is a percentage, as small as you think it is, that do not. A good recruitment process must be fair and non-discriminatory of people’s social media preferences.
The fact that the social media sites are used vary from one person to another gives us another con that come with using it as a tool in hiring employees—the accuracy of the approach to gauge personality. In a course of a year, a month, or even a week, people can change. Writers who published a rather poorly written blog entry from two years ago could have improved skills their substantially by now. The same with the content you can find on a candidate’s social media accounts. They probably think differently by now.
Social media can be an incredible powerful tool used to conduct an initial background check, but it can sometimes feed us information that can wrongly influence our judgment. Thus, it cannot stand as a recruitment tool on its own.
Many third-party entities can do the social media research for you, and there are websites with a network of trusted professionals with a pool of essay writers and scholar advisors to do job orders for clients.
About the Author: Laura Buckler is a writer, entrepreneur, and mother of two. She believes that everything in our life is simple and achievable and tries to help people recognize their own potential. Personal motivation is her main driving force.