What a Social Media Profile Can Tell You About a Potential Employee

Many a job has been lost due to revelations found in social media profiles that shared just a bit too much for the employer’s taste. According to a recent survey conducted by Jobvite, “nearly 3 out of 4 hiring managers and recruiters check candidates’ social profiles – 48% always do so, even if they are not provided.”

It’s clear that the internet is a very useful tool for human resources in determining certain details about an employee. Here, we’ll highlight a few of those.

Presentation of self. How does the prospective employee present himself in photographs? Are most of them posed and fully clothed? Does he seem polished? As your candidate will be a representative of your company both inside and outside of work, you want to find someone who presents well and doesn’t seem to seek the attention that graphic or inappropriate photos garner.

Learn about their communication style. Social media sites like LinkedIn not only allow a person to articulate their background as in a resume, but many people to choose to write reviews about others. This will give some insight into what your candidate values in his/her former co-workers or peers. 

Additionally, sites like Twitter allow you insight into how your candidate brands herself. What is her writing style? Casual? Irreverent? Chances are good that however she communicates to others on social media sites will indicate how she will communicate with you and other coworkers.

How do they react under pressure? If you look on a candidate’s Twitter feed and potentially in forums run by or participated in by the candidate, you can see what he has posted, how others have responded to that, and how he responds in turn. You may catch wind of a conversation turned sour. How does the candidate respond? 

Do they skip around a lot from an employment standpoint? Sometimes sites like Spokeo will indicate far more than an edited resume will. Spokeo gathers past employment history (among other things) from all over the web. Perhaps there have been a few short stints at companies not included on the candidate’s resume--this could be something worth looking into, as the candidate may have lost his or her job for some reason.

Learn what others think about them. What are others saying about your prospective hire in their LinkedIn recommendations? How are people reacting to the candidate’s forum posts and tweets? Knowing how your candidate is perceived by others can be extremely useful in learning how he/she might  be perceived by coworkers and even customers.

Because of the frequency with which employers are now leveraging online searches to learn more about candidates, many job candidates are turning to sites like Reputation.com to help them manage their online reputations. It’s a very smart move. 

An employer would be a bit silly not to do a quick online search on a candidate to ensure that the individual presents himself in a manner that would make the company proud if a customer conducted an online search on the employee. Be sure that you are utilizing social media as a tool when conducting an internet search on your next hire--you might learn as much from doing that as you learn while interviewing the candidate.


Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a wide variety of topics from online reputation management to digital marketing strategy.

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