3 New Ways to Dig Up Digital Dirt

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Have you ever looked up a job candidate on Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media site? Well, this infographic says that two in five employers have stated that they use candidate’s social media profiles to make hiring decisions. I’m a little shocked with that statistic, and to be honest I thought the data would represent more. I guess not everyone is a social media stalker… like me. But hey, I’m sure the numbers will continue to increase as social media recruiting and hiring techniques advance in the future.

Social Media Stalking?

Anyways, back to being a social media stalker. Did you like what you found about a candidate, or were there some red flags that made you think twice about moving forward with the hiring process? Today, social media gives hiring professionals tremendous insight into the personal and professional lives potential employees keep. We’ve seen countless articles bombarding us with all of the negative things to watch out for when evaluating a candidate’s social media profile, but have we put much thought into the positive things to look for? Not that I’ve seen. Therefore, I’ve put together three crucial things to look for when social media screening a job candidate. But before we get to the three things you must see, take a look at the top reasons employers evaluate potential employee’s social media pages. All of the following statistics are from this infographic.

  • 65% of employers use social networks to evaluate candidate’s professionalism
  • 51% of employers use social networks to evaluate a candidate’s fit into the company culture
  • 43% of employers found information online that helped them decide not to hire a particular candidate

It’s no secret that recruiters and hiring professionals are screening candidate’s social media accounts to get the dirt on potential employees. The most popular social media networks that hiring professionals examine are:

  • Facebook (76%)
  • Twitter (53%)
  • LinkedIn (48%)

Personal vs. Professional

Most likely Facebook takes the top spot because it’s the most widely used social networking site. Plus, users tend to get more personal on their Facebook pages. LinkedIn is likely the least used social networking site for screening job candidate’s because users show a more professional face. However, no matter what social networking site recruiters and hiring professionals use to screen candidate’s; chances are something is going to be found to either make or break a job offer. Take a look at some of the top reasons employers eliminate candidates because of their social media profiles.

  • 48% eliminate candidates for posting about drinking or using drugs
  • 33% eliminate candidates for talking bad about a previous employer
  • 30% eliminate candidates for exhibiting poor communication skills

It’s Not All Negative!

What about finding reasons to hire a candidate based on their social media profile? One in five hiring managers say they have found positive aspects of a candidate’s social profile that reinforced their favorable position in the hiring decision process. Some of the top things employers look for on candidates’ social media profiles are:

  • A professional image (57%)
  • Wide range of interests (50%)
  • Candidates that exhibit high creativity (46%)

These Three Are A Must See

So with all of this focus on the negative things that hiring professionals find on candidate’s social media accounts, I thought why not share with you three new positive things to look for. Job candidates who exhibit any or all three of these characteristics on their social media profiles are sure to be beneficial to your organization. Obviously, these reasons won’t be the deciding factor, but they will give you great insight into how involved and passionate a candidate is about the work they do.

 1. Content Curator – Proud of their work.

This person loves to share information on his or her social site. It can be a news article, blog post, or even an insightful personal post. Sharing content that is newsworthy or related to a particular career field shows that a candidate is informed and aware of the latest trends in his or her workforce.

Did you know? 50 percent of employers won’t hire candidates who post inappropriate content online.

 2. Brand Ambassador – Proud of their company.

This person is proud of the work his or her company does. You may have to dig a little into their past posts to check out how engaged they were with their past employer. Check out what types of pages they have liked and who they are following on Twitter. Have they even liked their past employer’s pages? Have they even liked your page yet? These are the first things to look for in finding an employee who is also a brand ambassador. It shows they are involved in their company and interested in the entire organization. Plus, if they are sharing articles and posts related to the business, chances are they are going to do the same for you. There’s nothing better than an employee who helps spread your organization’s message!

Guess what? 45 percent of employers use social networks to evaluate candidates’ qualifications.

3. Industry Involved – Proud of their career.

This person is a thought leader in their career industry. They are thoroughly involved and connected to other professionals in their career field. They may be members of specific groups, contribute to discussions, or post content related to their career industry. This person is not only involved in their career but they are actively collaborating with professionals around the globe.

Take a Look! 38 percent of employers look for positive references from others on candidates’ social media profiles.

Ultimately if a job candidate exhibits any or all three of these characteristics in their social media profiles then they are sure to bring something to the table. See, not all social media screening has to be focused on finding negative characteristics of a candidate’s social media presence. There are specific things like curating content, being a brand ambassador, and getting involved in the industry that shouldn’t go unnoticed. After all, why wouldn’t you want to hire a candidate who is knowledgeable, passionate, and personally invested into his or her career?

What are other positive characteristics job candidates can display through their social media profiles?

Read more in Social Recruiting

Shaley McKeever is a digital media coordinator at Red Branch Media, a full-service B2B marketing agency, primarily focused on human resources and global workforce vendors.
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