Using Social Media to Qualify Instead of Disqualify Candidates

As mentioned in an earlier post, Social Media sites should be used in the character reference portion of the background checking phase once you have narrowed down your top 10 or 3 candidates for the position. Avoid using these sites as the only verifying source for your candidate's skills, education and abilities. This would be a smart choice.

Don't Do This Yet

If you are still a little uncertain about using social media, then give yourself a little time to adjust, because at the present moment, you may not be ready. Keep in mind, checking out your candidates' social networking pages may not be for you if:

1. If you want to control what your employees do in their personal time outside the workplace.
2. If you have an excessive need to check their pages for updates and conversations. And seek out to follow their friends and their conversations.
3. If they are a fan of a particular group that you don't agree with. Particularly racial, sexual, political, theoretical, or religious groups.
4. If you are prone to discriminate based on marital status, sexual orientation, race, and religion etc.
5. If you quiver at the fact that you get a chance to see the candidate prior to the interview.

Once you overcome these 5 obstacles, you are well on your way to forming a more open minded approach to screening and qualifying candidates without the threat of being discriminative or judgmental.

Qualify Your Candidates

Should you find a candidate who has a social presence, understand that this is a great benefit that adds on to their overall portfolio. However, you may have other strong candidates who do not have on online presence. In this case you will have to use professional judgment in order to determine who will be the best fit for your organization.

Here are some qualifying factors for your candidates who use social media:

1. They are knowledgeable enough about technology.
2. They are willing to learn new things and adapt to the current economy in order to survive.
3. They are competitive and realize what it takes to be recognized.
4. They are fearless enough to interact with other professionals.
5. They are outgoing enough to build their network and join groups.

All of these things listed are indeed character based reasons. Therefore, and I state my case, that social networking sites should be used for character referencing purposes. Not as the one and only reason to disqualify candidate. I will discuss later how to Set Up Your Internal Guidelines for Using Social Networking Sites-Qualify Candidates.

Any thoughts?

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Comment by Jason Elkin on January 26, 2010 at 8:57pm
The EEOC has not even come close to settling the "Social Media Question" as it relates to hiring. Indeed the EEOC has been completely unsympathetic to any exposure of the employer to any discriminatory knowledge durring the hiring process. Regardless of how that information came their way. Incorporating any type of "social media" into a formal hiring process is dangerous until the EEOC decides where to land on this issue. For now the social networks should remain in the networking box of recruiters, and nothing more.

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