Using Social Media to Screen Candidates

July 21, 2017 mokeefe

In a world driven by social media, it is not surprising that employers would vet candidates via social media platforms, but the trend is at an all-time high, according to CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment survey, which reported that 70% of employers use social media for candidate screening, representing an astounding 60% increase from last year.
The results of these screenings are compelling: 54% of candidates were disqualified based on social media findings while 44% were hired because of qualities presented on social media such as excellent communication skills, creativity, and a professional image. While social media can definitely help a candidate land a job, it is important however, to be familiar with the social media red flags that decrease a prospective employee’s chances of getting hired. The following are the most common disqualifying findings on social media:

Posting Incriminating Content
Perhaps most obviously, candidates are immediately discarded for publicly engaging in illegal activities such as drug use, vandalism, etc. Young individuals under twenty-one should also be mindful of this, as pictures of underage drinking can cost them great first career opportunities or internships.

Failing to Use Privacy Settings
There is obviously a line between the personal and the professional and employers do understand that what candidates do in their free time does not necessarily reflect the type of employees they are. That said, candidates should meticulously tailor their social media pages to limit posts to “friends only” or to make pages completely private. If an employer can see much at all on a page, it reflects poorly on a prospective employee.

Using Derogatory Language
One of the biggest red flags for employers is hateful speech on candidates’ pages. This includes anything discriminatory relating to race, gender, religion, social class, etc. An excellent candidate must be able to work cooperatively with a diverse body of colleagues so any posts remotely hinting at bigotry or close-mindedness are usually immediately disqualifying.

Posting Provocative or Inappropriate Content
While the term “inappropriate” is somewhat subjective, candidates should error to the side of modesty and discretion when posting anything a potential employer could see. Any photos or videos that could be perceived as lewd or inappropriate for even some audiences might decrease a candidate’s chance of getting the position.

Being Inarticulate
While excellent communication skills exhibited on social media can help a candidate’s chances, conversely, posts riddled with spelling and grammar errors will signal poor communication skills to employers, even though these posts are constructed outside of the workplace. Any public posts should be as articulately constructed as possible.

Overall, a candidate’s social media presence will not necessarily make or break their ability to land their dream job, but it will influence the vetting process considerably. As a rule of thumb, social media platforms should be as private as possible, and all public content should be articulate and appropriate for all audiences.

Contact CPS, Inc. today and let us partner with you to find the perfect candidate or position.