Why Employers Use Social Media to Screen Potential Workers

Social Media for Screening Candidates

Why Employers Use Social Media to Screen Potential Workers

About 77 percent of employers took to social media during their hiring process, reports a 2013 survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Most employers that use social media for screening hiring candidates usually do so after conducting a job interview- but before extending a job offer. But, should they even be doing so? This is a controversial question but a fair one; maybe one that you can answer yourself after looking into why employers snoop into our online accounts in the first place.

Corporate Culture

One of the main reasons why employers would check out your social media accounts when considering hiring you is to see if you are a “good fit” for the company.

Since our Facebook and Twitter accounts are filled with personal information such as date of birth, home & work address/history, general interests, and possibly even frequent location, employers can use this to get a glimpse of who their candidate is.

But, there are advantages and disadvantages -on both the employer and the potential hire’s side- to this kind of background screening.

Cons

For starters, many online posts may be misread when seen out of context. That string of pictures your friend tagged you in on Facebook of you taking shots of vodka are definitely gonna raise some eyebrows.

Also, not everyone uses social media the same. While some may frequently upload just about anything on their public timeline without second thoughts, others barely share anything.

Although it may be risky, some people don’t mind sharing -and sometimes oversharing- their private life with others online. Other people use social media solely as a means of communication and thus may have an outdated page that may come off as strange. This may lead to misinterpretation due to false judgement.

For these reasons, it may be tricky for employers to effectively assess job candidates based on their social media profiles. Not to mention, some say this is an invasion of privacy. To play devil’s advocate, in today’s cyber world, we must assume no privacy when posting online. Everything posted goes into their idea of you.

Joyce Lemay, a member of SHRM, had this to say

“If you wouldn’t peek into the applicant’s window at home, why look into his or her postings on social media?”

Pros

However, there are some upsides to this new screening method. There is lot’s to take away from the information publicly shared by job applicants. For example, as an employer, you may come to find out that your candidate is indeed part of a nonprofit as stated on their resume. In some cases, this could be a good way to confirm that the job applicant is who they say they are.

The Bottom Line

There are better ways than checking social media for employers to find out if their job applicants are a “good fit” for their company. Like, I don’t know, maybe an in-person job interview…

In any case, everyone should know that a potential boss may be watching your every post. Creepy, I know. But seriously, just about everything that is posted publicly is up for scrutiny. From the homemade chicken Alfredo pasta you had for dinner to your medical test results that no one but you and your doctor should know about, and everything in between.

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