The use of social media networks has increased dramatically over recent years, as more and more people realise that it can have benefits that far outstrip simply keeping in touch with family and friends. Recruiters and HR staff are one such group, and they are using social media networks to not only help them search for potential employees, but to screen them as well. There are a variety of checks that can be made, and the top ten are listed below.
1. Most recruiters will begin their checks by visiting LinkedIn, which is a social network designed with the purpose of helping with recruiting. Nowadays, almost every professional has an account profile there, and if they don't then they should have! An absence of an account profile there would show a serious lack of dedication to a candidate’s approach to furthering their career.
2. Once a candidate’s profile has been located, the next step is to ensure that it has been filled out fully and correctly. This can then also be cross referenced to any CV that has been received to make sure that the facts match up. If they don't, then perhaps questions need to be asked as to why they do not.
3. Another thing that recruiters tend to look at is what industry groups a LinkedIn user is a member of. If these groups are relevant to the job that is on offer, then a recruiter can determine that the candidate has done their homework, and is knowledgeable about their profession.
4. Whilst LinkedIn may be the social network designed for professionals, it is Facebook that is by far the most popular social networking site in the world today. It is a rare person that has not got a Facebook account, and this can be an ideal place to visit in order to ascertain what sort of person a candidate is. Unlike LinkedIn, though, the absence of a Facebook account is not a negative thing, as many people have intelligently set their privacy settings so that only friends may see them.
5. If a candidate has an open Facebook account, though, it will be possible to see what sort of a person they are. Pictures of drunken nights out, or posts filled with illiterate swearing are unlikely to be found appealing, and it is surprising just how many people post negative comments about the places that they work at.
6. Looking at a Facebook account isn't just a matter of searching for negative information, though, it can be a great way to find out the more positive aspects of a person’s personality and life. They may not have written on their CV that they are a regular cyclist, runner or charity fundraiser, all of which may add to the candidate’s positive qualities.
7. The third major social networking site is Twitter, but to a certain extent, it can be a more telling way of understanding how people think and feel. With just 140 characters, people often reveal more about themselves in one tweet than they ever might in an entire CV.
8. Some recruiters may find that the times that people make updates on their social networking sites may have some relevance. If they calculate that they are being made during working hours, it may be a good sign that the person they are considering for the job may be more interested in making updates from their phone at work as opposed to working itself!
9. Looking at the contacts list of someone in order to see if they are friends or contacts with anyone that the recruiter themselves knows is also another tactic employed by them. If they find that a candidate is a friend of a friend, so to speak, then they may also follow that up with a telephone call and ask for an opinion on them.
10. Finally, many recruiters will simply type in a candidate’s name into a search engine such as Google in order to see what results appear. The search engines will draw in information from the aforementioned social networking sites, as well as from other media sources. Candidates who are specialists in their fields, or who may have unusual names will be easy to find, and a more complete overall social profile can be derived by using this method.
Richard McMunn is a writer for How2become; a leading career and recruitment specialist for public sector careers. For the last 8 years How2become has helped numerous people prepare for and pass tough recruitment processes and assessment centres in order to secure their dream job. You can also connect with How2become on Google Plus.
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