If you are using social media within your recruitment strategy, you should make sure you keep your goal in mind: assess the candidate’s suitability for the role. While you may start off checking whether their education matches what they’ve listed on their CV, be careful not to end up checking their holiday photos from 2008. While culture fit is important, their ability to do the job should be at the forefront of your decision making, so don’t be tempted to reject someone on first impressions – it is always worth an interview.
It’s important to remember that our online personas aren’t always a true reflection of who a candidate is – or what they can do. Just because an applicant misspelt a word in their Facebook status doesn’t mean that they will make the same mistake in the workplace – even so, more than half (56%) of employers admitted that bad spelling and grammar would reduce the likelihood of them hiring a candidate. Similarly, just because they’re teetotal doesn’t mean they won’t fit in with your current extroverted, sociable team. If you’re too quick to rule people out on these small details, you may miss out on employees who may have been a real asset.
If you’ve got into the habit of checking applicants’ social media profiles as part of your recruitment process, ask yourself what purpose this serves for you. If you feel that it’s because your current recruitment plan doesn’t give you a thorough enough impression of who candidates are and what they have to offer, consider whether you’re asking the right questions at an interview. These should include a mixture of competency-based questions and those that address cultural fit, such as their relationship with their manager and co-workers, what they feel are the positive aspects of their current work environment, and their preferred work style.