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To what extent should you rely on social media to screen candidates?

If you are someone who sometimes finds they have a slight tendency to go on social media to check up on candidates, you are not alone. As social networking has grown to prominence globally, a significant majority of recruiting professionals have come to appreciate the screening ability that these platforms allow. But to what extent should social media candidate screening be relied upon? While social media can offer hiring professionals a useful insight into the skills and qualifications of a candidate, there are certain aspects surrounding it that we need to be wary of. This all stems from an unclear distinction between professional work and social life in the social networking realms. The distinction between personal and professional social networking Professional networks can allow individuals to legitimise claims of abilities, skills and experience as these networks, by their very nature, facilitate this. It will then come as no surprise that a growing majority of hirers use these networks as a research tool for screening applicants. Many consider these networks to play a key part in the early stages of recruitment. The problem arises when we begin to factor in other social networks that fail to distinguish clearly between the candidates professional life and personal life. When it comes to other networks, hiring professionals should approach with caution. Certain social networking sites simply cannot provide a reliable indication of an applicant’s personality. It’s also important to note that written content is subjective – and can be misconstrued if read from a position where you don’t know said person. Facebook, Twitter & Instagram Those who choose to screen through the most popular personal networks – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – have to condition themselves to do so in a fashion that doesn’t leave them at risk of subconsciously judging them for their personal content. That said, these social networks can offer up insights into the negative aspects of a candidate that would be contradictory to the role in question. Studies have shown that the majority of hiring professionals who choose not to employ as a result of social media screening don’t set out to do so. Therefore, the task here is ensuring that each potential issue is suitably assessed to see if it really does represent an issue, or if it is just a case of misunderstanding brought on by you not personally knowing the applicant. That said, we should be incredibly wary of getting carried away. Sometimes, even though our intentions are just to have a glance over a candidate’s experience and personality, we can end up delving much deeper into their social media content than is necessary. This is detrimental to screening and can in some cases harm the effectiveness of your campaign. Never rely on social media screening alone Social media screening should be approached with an air of trepidation, especially considering the lack of a clear overarching guidelines over how it should be used for screening, both for applicant and hirer. The key is to ensure that you never rely on social media alone for candidate screening. In order to accurately determine the quality of an applicant, we at eRecruitSmart offer a variety of different expert psychometric profiling and aptitude testing tools. Often these can provide a far better insight into a candidate’s profile, cultural fit and ability.

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