Social Media Screening – does it help or hinder the hiring process?
The average person depends on social media now more than ever, with the number of worldwide users expected to reach 2.95 billion by 2020. Individuals are now choosing to communicate with those around them through a range of social platforms. The social media revolution is not only changing how people interact on a daily basis but is now affecting how they are getting hired for their next potential job role. So how exactly does social media screening impact recruitment?
Recruiters and hiring managers are choosing to look towards a candidate’s social profile to gather further information about a potential hire. A CareerBuilder study found that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring, which has significantly increased from 60% last year in 2016). Accessing a potential candidate’s online presence allows hiring professionals to review profiles and decide whether or not they want to meet them in person.
But can a fair judgement be made on a person based on their online presence? Does it act as a true reflection of their professional self? Or should both entities be kept separate? However you look at it, its happening and candidates are getting hired and fired due to what they choose to post online.
Is it fair to screen a candidate via social media?
Some argue, to have a recruiter assess a candidate based on their social media profile, is an invasion of privacy. Candidates may feel their social accounts aren’t a true representation of their professional self and for a recruiter to make a decision based on this would be inaccurate and unfair.
However, with the increasingly social savvy job seeker, potential candidates are warned to privatise profiles and delete anything they think may affect their job chances, such as offensive or inappropriate posts. By hiding their social media footprint it makes it very difficult for the recruiter and hiring teams to find out more about them.
From the recruiter’s perspective, it’s not always time-efficient to manually search through high volumes of social media profiles. Depending on how many applications they receive, it can take up a substantial amount of their time. A recruiter will then decide whether the candidate will make a good fit within the potential company and role, based on what they have seen online. As this decision is based on the recruiter’s personal perception, it can create the risk of making an unconscious bias decision.
What are the benefits of social media screening?
Employers and recruiters will use social media to screen candidates to help determine whether they will fit well into company culture and the job role. It enables them to see how a potential candidate is outside of the workplace and gain an understanding of their personality. If a candidate has a public profile, recruiters can easily search through their recent activity to help make their decision. The social media screening process allows potential candidates to be matched not just by their skills or experience but on their personality traits as well – ensuring they are a well-rounded candidate suited to the potential role.
Social Media screening can also act as a validation mechanism for recruiters. Finding a potential candidate online can help legitimise their application. Proving they are a real person and the skills and experience they said they had, are true. This can be confirmed with social media platforms such as LinkedIn, through candidates demonstrating their previous roles and even receiving recommendations from previous employers. Monster argue that if a hiring manager can’t find a candidate online they presume the candidate has something to hide and their application is likely to end up at the bottom of the pile.
Social Media Screening can be extremely beneficial to help recruiters and hiring teams confirm a candidate’s application. It provides them with an insight into who they are as a person before ever having to meet them. It can also help employers validate an application to help make a great hire who will fit well into the company culture.
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