Should you use social media to background check job applicants?BY CHRIS MEAD
Two in three jobseekers alter their social media profile when job searching because they believe employers will review their profile when making their hiring decisions. But are employers using this information? If so, should they?
According to a survey on our website of 585 Singaporeans, just one in three (33 per cent) are not altering their social media habits when job searching. But 50 per cent said they change their privacy settings when job searching and the remaining 17 per cent untag pictures and edit content.
Clearly candidates are becoming more responsible with their social media profile. Perhaps this is because a growing number of hiring managers believe that content on social media sites can give a good insight into a candidate’s character and likely cultural fit with the organisation.
For example, a Facebook profile with a public setting, content on video-sharing sites or on forums or blogs may reveal information that could make you see a candidate in a different light.
If you want to use such information as part of your assessment process when recruiting, then our advice is to remember it is just another tool to consider, not a be-all and end-all. Taking the time to get to know someone face-to-face, using behavioural-based interviews and conducting a thorough reference of previous employers remain the most successful method of assessing candidates.
If you still want to extend your vetting process to include social media, consider that you need to tread very carefully. For example, Facebook has issued a warning that demands for login information could leave organisations open to legal liabilities[i].
Where we do advocate the use of social media is through using professional sites such as LinkedIn to verify past employment or education, and through reading content the candidate has blogged, particularly content relevant to the industry or particular job function they are being considered for.
Of course, you can also make social media work for you by incorporating it into your candidate attraction process. For example, many organisations are using Twitter to inform candidates of vacancies as they arise, are using Facebook to post event details or news stories, and are linking the careers page of their website to their relevant social media.
Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.
[i] Corrigan B, Australian Financial Review, 27 March 2012, Note to job seekers: close your Facebook, http://afr.com/p/technology/note_to_job_seekers_close_your_facebook_nB1X...