The newswires were abuzz in Britain over the weekend after it emerged that the youth police commissioner in Kent, England had posted some dopey things on her Twitter account over the past few years. The 17 year old used youthful stupidity as her defense for the tweets. Whilst that may be acceptable, the interesting part of the story for me was that her employers had not bothered to check her social media profiles prior to hiring her.
“We went through a perfectly normal recruitment process. We had her vetted by the force and nobody normally looks through anybody’s Twitter feed.
“Social networking sites are a no-go area for most of us adults.” said Ann Barnes, the police commissioner who will be the youngsters boss when she begins her post this summer.
Which is kinda baffling isn’t it? I mean way back in 2011 a study revealed that 91% of employers screen social media whilst reviewing candidates, with 70% having rejected a candidate based on something they’ve posted online. That figures dwarfs other reasons for rejecting someone, such as lying about their credentials.
An awful lot has been written over the years on how employees can protect themselves online, and indeed on how to utilise the social web to build up their personal brand, thus supporting their job applications. Much less has been written to help employers that want to use social media to research candidates though.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help employers use social media during the recruitment process.
Tips for using social media as part of your recruitment
- Use social media to develop a talent community, both for prospective employees and alumni.
- Understand what you want to gain by researching candidates social media profiles
- Define the sites you intend to check beforehand
- Only screen those who have made your final short-list, after letting them know in advance that this may occur
- Ask someone not involved in the recruitment process to do the checking for you
- Keep a written record of your findings
- When presenting information to the decision maker, ensure that only negative information is shared. Protected information should be removed
Unlike Kent police, an increasing number of organisations are using social media as part of the recruitment process. Following these steps should ensure you do it the right way.
For more on this topic btw, there’s an interesting infographic on social media screening below.