3 Questions Using Social Media to Analyze Candidates

According to CareerBuilder’s 2015 social media recruitment survey, a whopping 52% of employers are using social media to analyze job candidates. The percentage of recruiters that have found an inappropriate picture of a job candidate are even higher. Yet nowadays, recruiters are using social media to determine the cultural fit between the job candidate and the company — rather than being on an aggressive hunt for red flags.

When job candidates leave their Facebook or Twitter profile page unlocked to the public, they are revealing their personality. Traditionally, recruiters and staffing agencies were using social media to weed out candidates that may be a bad fit within the company. Scouring social media sites and finding an image of a job candidate doing an upside down kegstand may have instantly raised a red flag. Obviously, there are red flags companies should NOT ignore, such as references to drug use, discriminatory comments and insults to previous employers. However, finding a past party photo shouldn’t trigger your instincts to move the candidate’s resume into the trash bin. Instead, you should be using the compiled images and data to determine if the candidate would be a good cultural fit within the company. After all, what person doesn’t enjoy a good party once in awhile?

So if social media isn’t being used to hunt down past party photos, what should it be used for? Well, here are the three questions to ask when analyzing a job candidate’s social media profile:

1. What’s displayed on the candidate’s profile?

If the resume is the foundation of understanding who the job candidate really is, social media is the brick and mortar. Analyze the job candidate’s tweets and updates. Maybe the candidate tweeted about being at a recent conference and their interest in the position is even more than you thought. Another good idea is to dig into the candidate’s list of groups. If they are involved in a leadership role in a larger group, there’s a good chance that the candidate is a great team player and has the ability to get things done.

2. Does the candidate create positive posts?

This may sound obvious, but does the candidate seem like a winner? What type of status updates are they posting on Facebook? After all, the Facebook page should be the first step in the interview process. If you find yourself getting irritated from the negative status updates from a candidate, you probably won’t enjoy them in the office, either.

Also, check to see if the candidate’s views align with the company’s. People tend to have different opinions. For example, a startup company and a conglomerate are two very different entities. A large company such as Microsoft may have goals to grow slowly through the course of the year. While a new startup company might experience rapid growth. Not saying that one job candidate cannot work in both types of environments; however, it’s probably a good idea to understand their expectations of the company within the next five years.

3. What do others say about the candidate?

One of the greatest features of LinkedIn is the Skills & Endorsements list. The endorsements are a great way to understand a job candidate’s skills. If they have received numerous appraisals from managers and peers, it’s a positive sign the candidate knows what they are doing. You can even go to Facebook and take a look at what their friends have commented on their wall to gain even more knowledge about the candidate.

Using social media for the purpose of analyzing a candidate’s cultural fit has become a growing trend. Nowadays, recruiters aren’t secret about the practice. In fact, CareerBuilder’s survey found that 35 percent of recruiters have requested to be a friend or follow a candidate.

Social media will become a permanent fixture within the recruiting cycle. Because while a resume may be the backbone of a possible candidate, social media activity paints a better picture of the candidate’s personality. The impact social media has on recruiting is immeasurable. It provides a wealth of information that should be taken advantage of by every HR department and staffing agency.