By H. E. James, MBA
You have three perfect candidates in front of you. Each one interviewed well and all their references couldn’t say enough positive things about them. On paper, each one has what it takes to fill the position for which you’re hiring. How then to decide from among them?
If you haven’t started looking at your candidates’ social media profiles during the hiring process, it’s time to start. It’s 2016, and brands have been using social media profiles to help with hiring decisions for years.
Image courtesy of Big Data for Small Business from the UAB Collat School of Business
Even if you aren’t using SM profiles to actively recruit talent, as Business News Daily suggested in 2014, looking at your candidates’ social media can often tip the scales toward one candidate over others. There are tricks to weeding out the chaff. Here are some tips to do so:
The younger the candidate, the more you might be inclined to think that she has a wide-ranging social media profile. This is not the case, however, as younger talent is moving away from maintaining multiple profiles. Instead, they are being much more discreet about which platforms they use.
Many, especially Millennials, are using Instagram and other more visually-oriented platforms to share digital media. Social media is the Millennial generation’s form of networking, and this highly-educated generation’s methods are changing the workplace. Use this to your advantage as an HR manager and look for social media profiles that follow the Millennial generation’s code of curation.
This concept is borne of the understanding that our digital footprints are very important and very permanent. Thus, look for the candidate who has SM profiles on the most relevant networks. It’s all well and good that an accountancy candidate publishes regular foodie pictures on her Instagram feed, but if she includes this SM profile on her resume, it speaks to her diligence.
As much as you’re looking for a candidate who chooses her SM platforms wisely, you’re also looking for one who understands that personal SM is the same as professional SM. Seeking a job in today’s market is all about personal branding, and savvy seekers know this.
Today’s company branding is all about social employees. Most employees today are social employees, and it’s better to hire one who already knows what she’s doing than train one, especially if social media is a large part of your branding.
Many organizations are turning to their employees to build social media branding strategies. Zappos trains its employees on the many ways of using Twitter, and they, in turn, use the platform to promote the brand and their own work. They even show off their recruiting funnel, which can include a ball pit interview.
Just because you’re looking at a job candidate’s resume doesn’t mean you should look for one with the least personality. In fact, even that accountancy candidate’s foodie pictures shouldn’t be discounted. Depending on your organization, a little creativity never hurts.
Just as you want to find a candidate who will represent your brand with professionalism, you also want to find one who will do so with originality. Posting the same information repeatedly shows a lack of diligence other than having social media profiles all over the internet.
If your organization is involved in a creative art, such as design, you want your candidate’s social media to reflect that creativity. Look for creatives who have followed used their profiles to show off their work.
Digital portfolio sites such as Behance have become the place to go to find work by anyone from an architect to a web designer. Behance itself has even expanded to include a job search function for creatives.
Even if your candidates have not included their social media accounts on their traditional resumes, you should still seek out their profiles. There are caveats to this kind of research on a candidate, such as friending one on Facebook simply to see her private posts. However, it never hurts to go the extra digital mile. Hopefully, your candidates have done so as well.