Recruiting qualified candidates to fill important roles at your company is never an easy task. As an HR professional, you know an organization can’t survive without strong employees. Taking the time to find the right candidates is essential.
Luckily, it’s become easier in certain ways. In the past, HR pros and hiring managers didn’t have many opportunities to learn about an applicant’s character and personality before making a hiring decision. That’s no longer the case. Thanks to social media, it’s often possible to conduct additional research on candidates.
You shouldn’t rely solely on social media activity to determine whether someone is a good fit for your company. There are many people who are entirely able to separate the way they behave online from the way they behave at work.
Still, it helps to look out for certain red flags. The way that a candidate behaves on social media can tell you whether they should get the job in many cases. You simply need to know which specific red flags are worth paying attention to when searching for candidates.
These are some of the more important warning signs to keep an eye out for when examining candidates’ social media activity. Again, while you shouldn’t immediately reject a candidate if you see these red flags in their social media accounts, you should proceed with caution if you notice one or more of them:
Spelling and Grammatical Errors
It’s important to understand that some types of activity on social media should be considered red flags if they relate to a candidate’s potential responsibilities for a specific type of job. For instance, perhaps you’re attempting to fill a role that requires an employee who possesses strong writing skills. Even if their job simply involves drafting emails, it is important to find someone whose writing is of high quality.
If a candidate’s social media profiles are littered with numerous misspellings, grammatical errors, and similar mistakes, it could mean they don’t have the skills necessary for that job. If you notice a disparity between the quality of the candidates’ cover letter and their social media posts, it might indicate that someone helped them to draft their cover letter.
Attitude Toward Former Employers and Coworkers
Limiting tension in the workplace is an important goal for HR pros. Even if someone has the skills and experience they need to thrive in a role, they may not be right fit for your company if they have a hostile attitude.
That’s why you should keep an eye out for the way they talk about former employers and coworkers on social media. If they routinely make negative posts or share gossip about work, particularly if the behavior seems to be consistent (and applies to multiple employers), the odds are good that they have an attitude problem.
As always, don’t make hiring decisions based on this single factor alone. Use it in combination with other factors and observations to help you more accurately assess a potential candidate’s character. For instance, if their body language during the interview was slightly disrespectful, and they have a tendency to speak negatively about employers on social media, they might be the type of person who struggles with authority.
HR pros need to be vigilant about keeping prejudice out of the office. You certainly don’t want to hire someone who has negative feelings about an entire group of people. This will almost inevitably lead to conflict.
Thus, clear signs of prejudice on social media are major red flags. Hiring managers should avoid giving jobs to people who use social media to regularly share negative views about other groups.
That said, it’s not uncommon for people to share content or posts that simply come across differently than intended. Online communication is difficult; making mistakes is easy. However, if a candidate appears to regularly and consistently use social media in this way, there’s a good chance the pattern indicates something about their genuine feelings.
Specifically, HR pros should look out for candidates who lie during an interview. This isn’t something that’s typically easy to catch. However, there are instances when a person’s behavior on social media can reveal a lack of honesty.
Maybe a candidate claimed to have “great Excel skills.” After their interview, maybe they went on Twitter or Facebook and asked their friends “How do I learn Excel fast?” Obviously, they weren’t being truthful when they claimed to be familiar with it.
These are all warning signs worth looking for when evaluating the social media accounts of job candidates. Again, although social media posts shouldn’t be the sole determining factor in whether a person gets hired, it can tell you more than you could glean from an application and interview alone.