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The Effects of Social Media on Applicant Screening


The Effects of Social Media on Applicant Screening

According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, approximately 60% of employers research job candidates on social media. In today’s digital-driven world, that can’t be very surprising. Most commonly, employers monitored social media activity for IT and sales positions to verify the qualifications they list in their application or resume. Because so many candidates lie about their job history, education and qualifications, social media provides extra insight into the candidate’s truthfulness as well as provides examples of their skills.

The effects of social media on applicant screening have been brought to light over the years as new social media websites have emerged and gained popularity, opening up new ways to share online. The study revealed that most recruiters were not actually using social media to dig into candidates’ personal lives but rather to look for qualifications, a professional online persona (such as LinkedIn or a career-focused Twitter account) and see what others were saying about the candidate.

People are more relaxed on social media where they think they’re only sharing information with friends, which can either help or hurt job seekers. Although employers may want to see what the candidate is like outside of work, social media as an applicant screening tool is still fairly new, bringing a slew of legal concerns when candidates feel they were discriminated against for their social media presence. In order to avoid legal issues, talent acquisition teams can leverage other applicant screening tools that will take up less of their time, like recorded video interviews. Nonetheless, some organizations will continue to conduct social media research on their applicants, so there a few things job seekers can do to ensure their social media presence doesn’t hurt their chances of landing their dream job.

How Job Seekers can Protect Themselves

Knowing  this, what can (or should) job seekers change about their social media presence? First, you don’t have to change anything. Depending on the type of job you’re searching for and how already use social media, here are a few updates you can consider to improve your online persona:

  • Create a professional LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already
  • Verify that your personal social media profiles are set to private (such as Facebook or Instagram)
  • Don’t post material you are not comfortable with your future employer seeing in a public space
  • Use LinkedIn or another public website to host a portfolio of your work
  • Use your Twitter account to post links to industry-relevant articles you find interesting
  • It’s OK to share normal personal thoughts online, but remember that everyone can see them

There’s a fine line on social media – although you can and should share your thoughts in an honest and personable way, it can be very easy to take it too far. Many employers like to see that personal side of a candidate outside of an interview and boring resume. However, if you’re concerned that employers might see too much of you online, be sure to choose the highest privacy settings. After all, it’s better safe than sorry if you really want the job.

Video Screening as an Alternative to Social Media Screening

Social media may be able to tell you who a candidate is outside of work, but that doesn’t always indicate whether or not they will be a hard working, professional employee and you simply can’t base a hiring decision on social media alone. Because social media screening may lead to potential legal issues, we recommend an alternative solution – video interviews. When it comes to screening a large amount of candidates, recorded video interviews provide an efficient solution that still gives you insight into who the candidate is without digging into their personal life online. It’s also less time consuming than taking the time to research candidates one-by-one online.

With GreenJob One-Way, you can not only ask candidates specific questions but you can request that they include specific links to social media profiles (like their LinkedIn) or portfolios and upload items right from the video platform. Instead of scouring the web for information, you can let the candidate do all the work and provide the information you want that will help you understand their qualifications and see their professional online presence in the form of portfolios and professional social media profiles as opposed to their personal accounts.

What do you think? Do you currently use social media for applicant screening?

Holly Wade is the Marketing Manager at GreenJobInterview. She comes from the technology world with a background in marketing and public relations, where she specialized in content management, brand development and social media. Connect with Holly via LinkedIn: