How to Learn More About a Candidate’s Personality With Social Media

By Tom Wilde

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HIRING A SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER?

Don't hire someone without first tuning in for this essential advice.




With social media becoming an ever growing resource for recruiters, it was great to receive this guest post from Molly Owens, CEO of Truity with advice on how using social media can help you learn more about a candidate's personality and aid you to make the right hiring decision. The insights here should be useful for narrowing down the right candidates and boost your recruiting effectiveness.

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Personality and cultural fit are more important to recruiters than ever in recent years. Now, it’s not just about the skills a candidate has, but the way that candidate will fit into the company that helps recruiters predict success.

In fact, according to Hyper Island’s April 2014 Executive Study, 78 percent of the more than 500 CEOs, hiring managers, and other key personnel felt personality was the most important thing to look at when hiring a candidate.

Clearly, the more a recruiter can learn about a candidate’s personality before making a decision, the better. But how?

Aside from bringing every candidate that’s qualified in for an interview -- not going to happen -- the best answer is social media.

According to Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey, 93 percent of recruiters are already using social media to support their recruiting efforts. So, next time you’re flipping through candidates’ social media activity, look for these three things to learn more about their personalities and help you narrow down the right hires for every job:
 

1. How do candidates react to negativity and being challenged?

The great thing about social media for recruiters is that, well, it’s social. Candidates put their thoughts out there for the world to see, and often the world answers back. Reading through a candidate's comments and responses can be an enlightening way to find out how he responds to being challenged.

Locate a post where someone disagrees with the candidate in the comments, or where the candidate disagrees with another person’s thoughts, and follow the conversation. Is the candidate quick to anger? Does he keep his cool? How does he address the challenge?

Look for candidates who can address challenges or negative comments without being overly emotional. Candidates who show poise and understand how to moderate a discussion without going negative can become effective employees, especially in customer support and other front-facing roles.
 

2. What are other people saying about them?

With social media, you don’t have to form an opinion alone. Instead of focusing solely on what images a candidate shares or the things she posts, look for what other people are saying about her online.

The best way to do this is to look through a candidate’s endorsements on LinkedIn. Keep an eye out for comments regarding how agreeable, open, or conscientious the candidate is. Candidates with high levels of these three Big Five personality traits can have a huge positive impact on your organization.

For example, if you see an endorsement about a candidate’s “willingness to take on new responsibilities,” it suggests she is open-minded and willing to attack new challenges. Similarly, an endorsement praising your candidate’s ability to “work on multiple projects under competing deadlines” helps you determine that she has high levels of conscientiousness that allow her to juggle multiple priorities. Both of these personality traits make for highly successful employees in any industry.
 

3. Does the candidate handle stress well?

While some may be more stressful than others, every job requires candidates to successfully manage their stress levels and produce good work.

In the world of personality typing, things like a candidate’s likelihood to experience anxiety or tension that leads to stress are measured in the Big Five personality trait called neuroticism. Finding the best candidates often means determining which candidates are more likely to crack under pressure, and which candidates have a healthy response to anxiety and stress.

Surprisingly, many candidates use social media as a place to vent frustrations about work, give voice to their anxieties, and document how stressful their work and personal lives can be. Recruiters can learn a lot about a candidate’s personality from posts like these.

As you read through a candidate’s posts, keep an eye out for posts that discuss stressful situations or a candidate’s anxiety about different things at work. How did they respond?

If follow-up posts talk about them conquering their anxiety and finishing a project or channelling their stress into finding a solution, you’ve got a candidate whose personality fits a highly active workplace. If you can’t learn anything about their stress response from follow-up posts, take note of the posts and discuss them with the candidate in-person to learn more about their personality.

With personality taking such a key role in hiring today, it’s important to use clues candidates leave on social media to learn everything you can about their personalities. After all, you don’t want to waste resources interviewing candidates that aren’t a personality fit for your organization, do you?

What other things can you learn about a candidate’s personality from their social media profiles?
 

Molly Owens is the CEO of Truity, developer of the TypeFinder® personality type assessment and other scientifically validated, user-friendly personality assessments that connect people with powerful insights about their strengths, talents, and traits. Find Molly and Truity on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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