Employee Selection

December 3, 2019

Amelia Herring

Social media and finding the right candidate: are they related?

Social media and finding the right candidate: are they related?
Amelia Herring
Give yourself the best chance of hiring the most qualified person for your current job opening.

While you’re scarfing down turkey, you turn to your right and see your teenage niece snapping pics of her plate. As a hiring professional, you’re pretty savvy in the ways of social media- but why’s it so important to get a snapshot of a meal that’ll take 5 minutes to eat? Social media has taken over everything. It’s present in the way we keep up with friends, how we shop, how we communicate- so could it possibly be involved with our businesses, too? Sure, there’s LinkedIn, but what about Facebook or Twitter or Instagram? And now you’re wondering, “How social media savvy is my business? ” 

If you’re like most companies, you advertise your products and services via social media marketing and answer questions and comments from clients. But have you tried it to recruit new talent to your business? Utilizing targeted social media searches (especially among niche groups) can help you broaden your pool of candidates, and help choose the right person for your job and your company.

Finding better job candidates with social media

When it comes to attracting a wide pool of qualified candidates for your open position, you’ll want to make sure your job posting is listed on all the major job listing websites. Monster, Indeed, and LinkedIn are good ones. You may also want to consider placing paid ads. What might not come to mind immediately is using social media for recruitment, like Facebook and Twitter (especially if you’ve built up a significant following). 

If your current employees are active on the same social platforms as your job posts, you can also involve them in your candidate search. Ask them to like and share your job post to spread the word about the open position. Odds are, their personal and professional pages are connected with qualified applicants that’ll jumpstart your hiring process.

Most people are familiar with LinkedIn from a candidate perspective, but you might not know it has resources for recruiters, too. In fact, when you’re talking about targeted candidate searches, the best tool on the market is LinkedIn Recruiter. The breakdown is pretty simple: the service allows you to use filters to widen your search for qualified people. From there, you’re able to reach out directly within the app, and then keep track of the candidates you want to interview or hire. 

You can also target your candidate search using Facebook, Reddit, and LinkedIn groups (hashtags work too; that’s the Symbol Formerly Known as Pound). Search questions related to the job or industry on Quora to find people who have experience in different aspects of your business’ industry. Once you’ve found a few with skill levels up to your standards, you can send targeted messages to them to see if they’re interested in applying for your open position.

Find a good cultural fit

An applicant’s social profile can tell you a lot about their overall personality- and it goes a lot deeper than whether they’re a Disney princess or if they’d return the ring to Mordor. If they’re posting relevant information on LinkedIn about their industry and answering questions about their job in a professional manner, they’re obviously interested in what they do. If they’ve started interest groups on Facebook about community outreach their company’s a part of, they’re probably passionate as well. 

Interests, put simply, say a lot about character. 

View resume details

This one’s pretty specific to LinkedIn, where candidates can upload their entire resumes to the platform. The app also lets users include personal information, like links to portfolios and personal websites. Plus, there’s a blogging feature where users can publish their industry thoughts, research articles, white papers, and creative babblings that bubble up from the brain. These resources allow you to determine if the potential candidate has the skills, education, and work experience needed for the position.

Weed out potentially problematic candidates

Is this person constantly complaining about something? Do they gripe about their current employer? Do they brag about ill-gotten sick days (pun intended)? Do they partake in illegal or criminal activities? The answers to these questions may cause you to reconsider pursuing the person you originally thought was the best fit for your open position.

It’s important to understand that researching candidates can come with potential pitfalls and legal ramifications. To avoid falling into questionable legal territory, you want to make sure you’re only viewing information that’s publicly available. In short, it’s best to avoid following or friending your potential hire during the recruiting process.

You should also be aware of certain protected characteristics that may put you in violation of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities) Act, or of certain employment laws and regulations overseen and enforced by the EEOC. Protected characteristics include a person’s age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, whether or not they have a disability, how much they currently earn, and whether or not the applicant is pregnant or trying to become pregnant. 

It’s a given that you don’t want to violate the laws and regulations regarding a candidate’s protected characteristics during the hiring process. It’s important to know that once you view a potential job candidate’s social media info, the courts believe you have knowledge of this information. That said, you should wait until you’ve conducted a face-to-face interview to use social media to dive more deeply into your research. Viewing social media prior to meeting could lead to an automatic (potentially biased or discriminatory) decision about the applicant. 

We also recommend that you check out all applicant profiles at the same point in your hiring process, in order to make decision-making as fair as possible. And if you do decide to explore candidates’ social media, it’s also advisable to save screenshots of the information you found so you have documentation.

Candidates are probably researching you, too

Social media’s a two-way street. In fact, about 59 percent of job-seekers use social media to get the lowdown on companies they’re interested in before submitting their relevant information. That’s why it’s key to keep your social media marketing updated by posting relevant articles and highlighting topics that mean something to your brand culture. 

Bottom line: your online brand has the potential to attract new talent, and widen your pool of applicants. Keep it updated, accurate, and informational- and give yourself the best chance of hiring the most qualified person for your current job opening.

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