2020 was a banner year for many things, but one thing that stood out, in particular, was the increased use of social media – in both a personal and professional context.
2021, on the other hand, is seeing an increase in social media screenings as part of the hiring process.
News story after news story highlights the importance of hiring people who use social media responsibly. One slip-up on public-facing social media sites can damage companies’ reputations and cause a significant impact on your bottom line.
Even things shared privately, in direct messages, or on platforms like Snapchat, which disappear in 24 hours, can be screenshotted, saved, and distributed widely.
Whether you’re considering whether a candidate might fit in with your company’s culture or are concerned that they might share something inappropriate, there are plenty of reasons to justify social media screenings.
But here are a few questions to ask before you begin the screening process:
Which channels should employers check?
Primary channels, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, are typically what employers use to check out a potential candidate. Other emerging platforms, however, such as Clubhouse or TikTok, should be evaluated, as well, to ensure that nothing inappropriate is shared or said that would reflect poorly on your company.
What if someone doesn’t have a profile on one of the primary social channels?
Some candidates might not have a presence on all social channels, but it is common for most people to have at least one. In fact, not having an active presence on any social media channel could, in itself, be a red flag.
For some people, the perception might be, “what is this person trying to hide?” A critical aspect of social media screenings is the Google search, which can often bring up recently-deleted social media profiles that employees think are invisible.
If it appears as though someone recently deleted a social media profile, you should consider that.
What should I look for in an online or social media screening?
Online and social media screenings can offer a potential employer a glimpse of what kind of representative that person will be for the company – on a positive and negative scale.
On the positive end, you might realize that a candidate can back up the information in their resume or has additional skills and talents that may be beneficial. Therefore, these social media screenings should serve as methods of confirming why someone would be a good fit as much as it is looking for reasons not to hire someone.
Is there anything I can’t search for or ask for?
Public-facing profiles and information are always legal to check and look through, but asking for logins and passwords to personal social media accounts could invade someone’s privacy and make the candidate uncomfortable.
If a company asks for this information, it could send a big red flag to the job candidate and question whether it is somewhere they want to work.
What kinds of things should I be concerned about in a potential employee’s social media account?
Some things to watch out for include provocative images or excessive use of profanity or foul language. Suppose a candidate has any other content that would be inappropriate to share in a professional setting. In that case, this should give the potential employer pause as to whether or not to continue with the interview process or business relationship.