Using Social Media to Screen Applicants

By Paul Cortissoz

Social media is one of the most popular phenomena in today's society, facilitated by the widespread use and reliance on technology for virtually everything throughout our lives. We use technology to go to school online, making time for advancing our careers easier than ever before. Many workplace functions are carried out through technological devices and Internet connections. Places of employment also put technology to work in finding new employees for hire - including social media.

Outside of technology, including tools like cameras that capture moments in time, it's impossible to go back in time and see who did what, when, and where. We often hear our friends, family members, colleagues, and accomplices talk about others, ranging from good deeds performed for strangers to selfish acts that harmed others. However - when cameras are out of the picture - there's no certain way to tell if what you hear about people is actually true or not.

When employers look to social media, they see events, attitudes, and interactions with others on their public profiles. While it's possible to block access to one's page, some people fail to do such, providing the outward image that they don't' care about what others think of them.

Often times, this works against people that have applied for various positions at a business or organization.

Mitigating The Legal Risk

Businesses are sometimes prone to facing legal risks related to discrimination, brought to businesses by disgruntled potential employees. Carnegie Mellon University, one of the most advanced colleges across the globe when it comes to the world of business, found that entities using social media to assist in the screening process were - whether one is actively doing so, or happens to appear to do so on - more likely to discriminate against protected characteristics.

It's entirely possible to safeguard against such possibilities. You should always have a department totally unrelated to making hiring decisions evaluate applicants' social media presences. If someone that makes such decisions reviews their social media profiles, that person may be biased in their screening of applicants' profiles, causing those belonging to other protected characteristics get the job.

This can also result in not selecting the best employee for the job, as managers would be judging applicants on things totally unrelated to their expected performance in the workplace.

Leverage The Experts

What's also a good idea regarding social media screening is hiring an organization trained in such a field, like Fama, to do the work for you. They're likely to be more experienced in looking for key information on applicants' social media profiles, resulting in hiring employees that are better at their newfound jobs than other candidates would be.

Another important rule employers should follow is staying away from requesting applicants provide your business with login information to social media platforms. Doing so is likely to push applicants away, and is even illegal in some states across America. Applicants could delete information that might remove them from job contention prior to your business actually inspecting their pages, undermining the purpose of conducting social media screening on their profiles.

Using social media to screen employees is likely a good idea, but not if you don't know what you're doing. Rather than trusting yourself, contracting such responsibilities to an independent social media screening agency is a sound idea.

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