Many recruiters and hiring managers have made the social media screening job of applicants a standard operating procedure. Should your business be doing it, too?
Read on for an overview of what to look for, what is and isn’t allowable, and how adding this practice can benefit you professionally and personally. Once you implement social media research, you might be surprised by how much you can improve your hiring process and find the best employees for your job.
But you’ll need to be careful to look into how social media impacts insurance and the potential legal ramifications of your research.
The Focus of Social Media Research When Hiring
The more information you have about a potential new hire, the better your chances of making the right choice in hiring. Social media profiles can give you a glimpse into the personality of prospective employees. Your background check will provide you with data, but you won’t learn much about someone’s personality.
Look for Clues Regarding Personality
If the open position in your company entails working with customers, you might want to look for a candidate who avoids social media arguments. While it’s OK to argue an opinion respectfully, employers should look for whether a candidate keeps their cool in discussions or turns to emotional responses.
You should also look for how their profile matches what they said in their interview. For example, if they talked about their love for family in their interview and post about their adventures with their children, you can take that information as a confirmation of their genuine responses.
Examine Likes and Interactions
You might consider whether a candidate’s likes and interactions match your company’s values. For example, if you’re an electric lawnmower manufacturer, but your potential new hire only shows affinity with combustion engine products, their values may not align with your business’s values.
Consider How Their Profile Will Reflect on Your Company
Unless you’re an edgy company, you’ll want employees who abstain from profanity and illegal activities posted on their social media accounts.
If a candidate’s social media profile doesn’t align with your company values, they might not be a good fit.
The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media Research
Use social media research responsibly.
Do Check Social Media Profiles
Review a job candidate’s authenticity by checking their social media profiles. You can learn a lot about a person in a short period when looking at social media. Often, what you find online will back up the opinion you formed during the interview.
Insurance companies often check social media profiles as part of claims investigations just to make sure what a client says matches up with the truth, and employers can follow that same practice.
Do Respect a Candidate’s Privacy
Don’t ask a prospective employee for passwords. You can check their profiles, but you don’t need to access their accounts. Even if it’s legal for you to ask, it’s an ethical invasion of privacy to go beyond what’s public information.
Even if a potential employee focuses on protecting privacy, likely, you can still find some limited information.
Don’t Put Too Much Emphasis on Social Media Research
Some people share what might be considered too much information on social media. But often, people can separate their professional and personal lives and do a great job at work even when they could be considered obnoxious on social media.
So, use social media research to reinforce your opinion, but don’t let minor opinions and personality differences eliminate good candidates.
Don’t Use Social Media to Make Illegal Hiring Decisions
You cannot use social media research for discrimination. For example, you can’t base your hiring decisions on race, sex, and religion. That doesn’t change just because you discovered something on social media.
The Professional and Personal Benefits of Social Media Research
Social media provides a glimpse of a person’s personal and professional life. Some social media sites focus on professional experience and networking, while others are set up as personal sharing platforms.
Gaining a Hiring Edge
Keeping an open mind when reviewing social media profiles can help you understand a prospective employee. As a result, you might be able to make a job offer that’s tailored to their interests, which can give you an edge in a competitive market.
Even after an employee is hired, you can keep tabs on their social media profiles so you can more easily relate to them personally.
Keeping the Personhood of an Employee First
Employees tend to appreciate employers who value their values. For example, if an employee has a family, they usually want an employer who offers flexibility when caring for a sick child or taking a child to appointments. A good employer can help strengthen a family’s bond.
Social media can help employers remember that their team is comprised of individuals with passions and dreams. You can be a better boss when you see your employees as people, not just avenues to increase revenue.
Social media research can help you make wise hiring decisions and find the best candidates for your open positions. Just remember not to take social media information too seriously, and be careful not to make illegal hiring decisions based on what you find.
About Author: Melanie Musson writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, USInsuranceAgents.com. She’s passionate about helping others understand their insurance needs and how an appropriate policy can set them up for financial stability both now and in the future.