Researching Candidates on Social Media – The Dos and Don’ts

Man Using Tablet and Holding Credit Card.

Background checking on candidates has become a standard element of the recruitment process – especially now that social media has made it considerably easier. It can be a great way of vetting a candidate to ensure they are a suitable fit for the organisation. But to what extent should it be relied upon? We’ve put together a few dos and don’ts to ensure great candidates aren’t slipping through the net.

Do check

Carrying out checks can be important. Whatever you find out about this individual online could also be found by a client or customer once you were to hire this person. It’s not just about considering your impression of this person but the impression they could give to others.

Do Widen Your Search

Checking social media is an important port of call, but widening your search to the whole web can be a good way of checking there’s no incriminating material about this individual on the wider internet. This could include lesser-used social platforms that perhaps you are less familiar with. There’s usually no need to dig too deep – it’s just a good idea to check there won’t be any nasty surprises.

Do Look at All Sides of the Person

Most recruiters will check social media because it offers a more personal insight into the person than what is offered on a CV. This means that as well as checking there’s nothing bad, you can also look at the positive sides of the person. Identify what their hobbies are, whether they take part in sports, have been travelling and so on to allow you to find out more about them as a person and see if they would be a good cultural fit.

Don’t Over Analyse

It’s important to remember that people don’t often pay much attention to their own presence on social media, so try not to take anything that could be slightly incriminating too seriously. It’s called social media for a reason, and you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have an embarrassing picture of them online somewhere, so just because a candidate has a lot of pictures of the socialising doesn’t necessarily mean this is all they do. The wiser candidates will have hidden their more inappropriate content if it does exist, but use your discretion to identify what is just normal fun and what is crossing the line.

Don’t Discriminate

The added factor from candidates having a social media presence is that it reveals a lot more than a CV does or what a recruiter can find out. This can include things like date of birth and marital status. As a result it’s important to be very cautious not to allow these things to play a part in the hiring process or to appear as if they might. In short – use common sense!