Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
What to Know When You’re Looking at a Candidate’s Social Media Profiles

What to Know When You’re Looking at a Candidate’s Social Media Profiles

Social media plays a major role in the hiring process today. You may think you have the perfect candidate, but some online research shows you that this person isn’t exactly the person they presented themselves as in the interview. As a result, you’re suddenly left with some questions about whether they’re actually a good fit for your company. And while it’s wise to do some social media-related research before making a candidate an offer, it’s important to do so carefully so as to avoid getting your business into any legal trouble. Here are some tips for toeing that line:

Never ask a potential new hire for their passwords

If you want to check out what this individual is saying on their public Twitter or Facebook profiles, that’s fine. It’s up to them to make intelligent decisions when it comes to posting content and choosing proper privacy settings. However, you should never ask potential employees for the passwords to their social media profiles.

Make sure HR is involved

Your HR department should be the ones handling the research. They know what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to factoring a candidate’s social media presence into the hiring process. Have them brush up on the legality of this issue, and then conduct the research on their own. They can then present their findings to you. Don’t go rogue and find out everything you can about this person by doing endless Google searches.

Check out social media profiles later on in the hiring process

Everyone should come in for an interview with a clean slate. Let the candidate shape their own first impression by what they do and say. It’s okay to check out how they present themselves on social media, but make sure you do this after you’ve already had a conversation with them in person.

Know that people can make fake social media accounts

If you discover a social media account that’s especially problematic, understand that there are instances where people can make fake social media accounts specifically to damage someone else’s professional reputation. If everything else you know about this candidate suggests that they conduct themselves in an ideal manner both in and outside of the office, consider that this may be what’s happened. Consider giving the candidate a chance to explain the unsettling profile.

Compare apples to apples

If you’re looking at all of the social media profiles one candidate has, but only looked at another candidate’s Twitter account, you’re not being fair. Make sure that there is consistency in how you approach social media and the hiring process. If you’re going to factor in every profile one potential new hire has created, do this for each of them. No picking and choosing allowed.

How do you factor social media into the hiring process? Share with us in the comments!

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Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.