Whenever you heard ‘background check’ before social media, you could be forgiven for conjuring up images of a bloke in a rain mac and bowler hat following candidates down dark alleyways. Thankfully, nowadays the process of conducting a background check on prospective employees isn’t such a cloak and dagger operation. With the rise in popularity of social media, background checks can be carried out quickly and easily without even leaving your seat. However, it’s important to be aware of the dos and don’ts surrounding the practice.
DO: Be Consistent
It would be unfair to only look up certain candidates on social media. Even if some come across as squeaky clean and others not so, if you decide to conduct background checks then it has to be on everyone- not just a select few. As recruiting strategies go, consistency of checks is definitely up there.
DON’T: Eliminate candidates too easily
After conducting a background check, you might find one or two things that don’t impress you too much- whatever they are, try not to be put off a candidate too easily because of something you spotted on their social media profile. If they seem like the perfect fit for your company, with great credentials, then you could be missing out on a great employee- they may just have been having a bad day or it could have been a slip of the tongue.
DO: Research relevant information
Doing social media screening isn’t an excuse to snoop around on someone’s profile and check out who their favourite bands are- it’s a chance to find out some more about them and see the ‘real’ person beyond the workplace. That’s why it’s important not to rule out candidates too easily because of these checks- even if you’re not in agreement with their favourite films, it doesn’t necessarily make them a bad candidate.
DON’T: Try too hard
If you want to find out a little more about a candidate but their information is private, then that’s fair enough. It wouldn’t be wise to try underhand tactics such as asking them to become a ‘friend’ of the company- if a candidate wants their online presence to remain private then that’s up to them.
DO: Be careful!
Remember that there are laws surrounding your access to candidates’ private information- so it’s important to be careful when you’re trying to find out stuff about somebody that you wouldn’t be able to find out in an interview.
If you’re still not sure whether you would want to go down the route of social media screening, enlisting the recruiting services of an online recruitment agency is a viable alternative. That way, a team of recruitment specialists can conduct a quick telephone screening of candidates to find out if they’re a suitable fit for the role being offered.