The Pros and Cons of Reviewing Candidate Social Media Accounts

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Hiring the right candidate entails gathering the best information available. The more you have, the better the decisions you will make. Of course, the first place we all go to find information is the internet, which has information on almost everyone, including access to potential applicants’ social media accounts. A great way to find out more about their personal lives.

The question is, should you?

There are advantages and disadvantages to checking out a candidate’s social media profile. Let us examine them below:

Advantages of Viewing a Candidate’s Social Media
  • Unfiltered Information: You can learn a lot about a candidate through their social media accounts. You can see their looks, learn about their interests, and determine how well they write. You can also get an idea about their intelligence, character, and lifestyle. While we have all heard the saying, “You should never judge a book by its cover,” it’s only natural to do that when people willingly post personal information online.
  • Commitment to the Field: You can easily determine how passionate a person is about their field of work, especially if they are in a trending field on social media. Suppose you’re hiring a marketer and find their Twitter profile is full of retweets about marketing or posts promoting their current or former employer. In that case, it shows they are more talented in marketing than a candidate who posts about partying and alcohol.
  • Preparation: By looking at their social media accounts, you can get an idea of how well they prepared before applying. Most applicants understand that anyone can look at their profiles. Candidates aware of how important it is to develop a healthy reputation with employers will clean up their profiles before applying. Many unprofessional posts can tell you a bit about the candidate’s priorities.
Disadvantages of Viewing a Candidate’s Social Media
  • Biases: By learning more about a candidate’s personal life, you can unintentionally introduce biases. Biases such as the candidate’s age, attractiveness, marital status, children, and more may affect hiring decisions.
  • Legality: Unfortunately, biases can introduce potential legal issues. Perhaps you find one candidate more physically attractive than another, and you decide to hire the attractive candidate. That may not be legal. Likewise, if you determine that a candidate is too old or has too many kids, you may persuade yourself that they aren’t suitable workers, which may also not be legal.
  • Private/Professional: What someone shares on social media may not be what they truly are or believe in. People do many things in personal settings that don’t necessarily reflect who they are simply because of their friends or how they choose to interact with others socially. Be careful about judging them when the medium you are using to gather information does not reflect their professional experiences.
Deciding Whether or Not to Search

There are so many ways to tell if a candidate is suitable for the job beyond social media, so what you choose to do is up to you. Still, it’s not unusual to want to know more about an applicant before hiring them. But be careful not to let your decision be influenced by what you find more than it should.

If you would like an experienced team of experts to analyze potential candidates for you, contact our team at ALIGN today.

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