With technology at our fingertips all hours of the day, we can easily access copious amounts of data.
From google, to Wikipedia to social media sites, we simply open an app or internet browser and have access to everything from Bill Gates most recently read novel to the social lives of our potential recruits.
The hiring process has also moved in a more digital direction with software and apps and other HR technology to streamline the process.
This digital move also prompts more recruiters to make use of the internet in their day to day job.
Studies show more and more recruiters turn to social media to screen potential candidates.
And while social media can be helpful to verify education and work history information and highlight potential red flags, it’s best to exercise caution.
This article will highlight some do’s and don’ts when scanning Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media outlets to avoid any legal ramifications when letting social media influence your hiring decisions.
Do screen for discriminatory behavior, illegal activity or other red flags
Many candidates are more open about their thoughts, actions and ideas on social media than they may be when interviewing for a new job.
If a candidate displays discriminatory behavior on social media that may land your company in trouble down the road, it can be helpful to know that information up front.
The same applies if a candidate displays indications of criminal activity.
However, while screening for these red flags, avoid letting other information impact your view of the candidate and keep in mind this information may not be entirely true.
Don’t let demographic information sway your decision
Social media tends to give more demographic information about a candidate than their resume so it’s important not to let your inherent bias effect your hiring decision.
Based on information found on social media or inferred from photos or other posted information a recruiter may be able to determine the relative age, race, national origin, religion, disability, or citizenship status of an individual, all of which cannot be used against an individual when making hiring decisions in many countries.
In Singapore specifically, you may reference the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices and Tripartite Guidelines on Non-Discriminatory Job Advertisements.
These references outline fair employment practices to be adopted by employers.
They also provide numerous case studies as examples of what to do and what not to do.
For example, they highlight a woman whose job offer was rescinded after the company learned she recently became pregnant.
Following intervention from Tripartite, the job offer was reinstated. They cover multiple other examples to help companies and recruiters know what actions to avoid.
In other countries, if a candidate feels they have been discriminated against based on the factors listed above, they can bring legal action against your company.
Do screen for attitude indicators
If it’s important to have an individual work as a contributing member of a team, the attitude each person brings to the team can be important.
If you have an employee who is combative, negative or angry it can effect the entire team.
If a potential candidate frequently posts angry rants on social media about their workplace, they might not be the best addition.
You can also use other HR technology such as AI to screen resumes for personality traits or use a personality test to discover if a candidate will mesh with other employees in your company.
The future could also introduce AI that determines personality traits simply by tracking a candidate’s eye movements.
Don’t rely solely on social media
While LinkedIn may provide professional insight into a candidate’s ability to perform in the workplace, the personal information found on other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter may not indicate whether a person can fulfill the roles of the position you’re seeking to fill.
As such, don’t focus solely on the personal information you find there and remember to avoid letting demographic information impact your decision to move forward or not.
Social media can be a good starting point for determining which candidates might fit best within a position but remember to apply the same process of evaluation to each candidate.
Delving into one candidate’s personal life while ignoring another can be unfair and lead to a disgruntled candidate pool should the evaluation process be revealed.
To avoid this, it’s a good idea to have a consistent procedure in place for evaluating potential candidates.
Social media can be very useful in recruiting and hiring but it can also have drawbacks.
But if you are consistent in your evaluations and don’t discriminate based on demographic information, social media can help you in your search for a candidate that best meets your company’s needs and avoid others that could harm your company and its reputation.