What Can a Social Footprint Really Reveal About a Prospective Candidate?

With the explosion of social media networks, we have all become content creators, networkers and spectators, and we end up spending hours online in networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus, both creating and consuming content.

Over 500 million photos – not to mention several billion updates – are posted every single day, and growing exponentially.

We live in a social media world where everything can be seen and heard immediately. It’s all essentially branding and it’s how candidates and organisations market themselves to one another – a timeless concept.

The reason why branding has always existed on a personal as well as a business level is that we have to sell ourselves or our organization in various situations, whether trying to impress a hiring manager during an interview, or to promote the company brand and mission.

Candidates and employers are branding and communicating to each other in a two-way dance to attract the right fit.

But where exactly does so much of this external branding and communication of ‘who I am‘ or ‘who we are‘ take place?

A hint:  If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears have more Twitter followers than the entire populations of countries like Sweden, Israel and Switzerland. The amount of content shared socially out there is ‘Astounding’ (with a capital A!) and is increasingly being used by diligent employers and recruiters who need to make consistent, solid hiring decisions.

In this day and age it has become common practice to ‘just Google it’, or when it comes to candidate or company profiles, to attempt to gain more insight via searching the major social media vehicles. For some ‘the social search’ has now become second nature. But why is this?

Pre-interview verification

More and more employers and recruitment professionals are turning to social media since they want to see who a potential candidate is prior to even interviewing them. They want to see how a candidate communicates and  positions their personal brand and persona to others.

But, what are employers really looking for to facilitate a successful hire and increase top employee retention?

Fit and suitability

How will a candidate fit in with a company’s culture, mission and values? And how well will they mesh with their prospective work colleagues?Employers equate fit and suitability with building and retaining top performers.

Many hiring managers have moved beyond simply reviewing a person’s qualifications and experience on a CV to effectively screen, evaluate, and interview top candidates for key positions. They’re gauging fit and suitability based on a candidate’s social footprint. In-depth ‘social screening’ and assessment up front can help both job seekers and employers ensure a proper fit and reduce time spent ‘in limbo’.

The resumé has been replaced by a social snapshot

The future of the resumé will be a social snapshot that showcases a candidate’s personal brand – an expression of who they are in their world of social networks. This leads to the question, what do social networks say about a prospective candidate?

The five C’s to look for when evaluating a candidate’s social footprint

  1. Community. A person’s community reflects where they spend their time and can show their interests, hobbies and who they surround themselves with.
  2. Content. Content is king. It really reveals one’s character and shows potential employers what the individual is all about, what they are saying, and what they are doing within these networks.
  3. Context. Context tells a story about how one is living their life, and it can give an indication of how professional they are.
  4. Communication. A prospective employee’s written message shows how they engage with audiences within their communities – how they talk with friends, family and peers online.
  5. Consistency. In direct relation to content, context and communication – how consistently does the individual exhibit across their social networks? This can reflect behaviour, validate how they represent themselves or indicate their authenticity, and that they are who they say they are.

Analysing a candidate’s social footprint can transform and streamline your entire hiring process.

This can then allow for a better connection with employers, adding value to all parties involved in the hiring process by increasing the ability to better assess an individual candidate’s cultural and professional fit.

Please note this post originally appeared on the RecruitLoop Blog.

Views: 334

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on February 21, 2014 at 12:49pm

Thanks, Paul. Since the nicely organized "digital dossier" compiling all this in one convenient place is still in its formative stages, most of us don't have time to fool with this. We need to pull people in for our jobs NOW, not wait around trying to weed 'em out because they've got a picture of themselves drinking a beer.




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