How to research candidates with social media

Nolan Gray Tips & Tricks

Many companies now implement social recruiting strategies, but recruiting is just the beginning. Social platforms provide value for all aspects of the recruiting cycle. For instance, candidate research using social networks is a growing practice. According to CareerBuilder’s 2015 social media recruitment survey, the number of employers using social for research grew from just 39 percent 2013 to 52 percent in 2015.

Recruiters aren’t always secretive about this practice either. The survey found that 35 percent of recruiters have requested to be a friend or follow a candidate. However, candidates deny them permission 20 percent of the time.

Social media provides a wealth of information that may be missing from candidate’s application materials. In the past, recruiters mainly trolled Facebook to eliminate candidates that seemed to misbehave on their off hours, but now social recruiting can be taken in a more positive light. How exactly are companies extending their social recruiting strategies to evaluate candidates? Here are a few things you can look for.

Company fit
What does the person post about when they’re not on the clock? Are they creative, fun, or serious? Look at their personality. All in all, do they look like the kind of person who usually succeeds at your company? Do their activities indicate they would get along well with your current staff? Review their profile and posts to gauge whether the person might be a good fit. If they write posts on LinkedIn, see if their views align with the company’s.

Knowledge and background
A resume is a limited document. It doesn’t always tell recruiters the entire story. Social platforms fill in the blanks. While a candidate may have briefly noted her marketing expertise, she could be incredibly active in Twitter conversations surrounding marketing topics, and she may be even more interested and involved than you thought. Maybe she even live-tweeted a recent conference or added valuable insight to a query. CIO suggests looking at a candidates’ LinkedIn to see what organizations they follow and what groups they belong to.

What others say
Check to see if candidates frequently engage with others online and what friends and colleagues have to say about them. Look at candidates’ LinkedIn profiles to see who has endorsed them for what. If they have a lot of comments from managers and peers, this is a good sign that their skills align with those listed on their resume.

Red flags
Social platforms do have extra information about candidates unavailable on the resume – not all of it good. Especially in an age where most savvy job seekers are aware that potential employers will review their social platforms, there’s little excuse for certain content. According to Career Builder, close to half of recruiters found something that turned them off from a candidate. These include inappropriate photos, references to drinking and drug use, discriminatory comments and more. If they’ve badmouthed a previous employer publicly, that’s also a no go.

Social recruiting isn’t just about broadcasting your employer brand and advertising openings, although these are both important components. Social media also provides information you won’t find on a resume, so go ahead, take a look!

Jobscience | Beyond the Applicant Tracking System