What if a Candidate Has No Social Media Footprint?

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HoodEveryone has a social media profile of some kind, right?

Actually, no: as of September 2013, 73 percent of online adults were using social networking sites, which means that a significantly large portion of adults (27 percent) are off the Web’s radar. What if one of these anti-social media adults becomes one of your candidates? Does it matter if they don’t have a social media presence?

According to the Pew Research Center, a lack of a social media footprint is considered statistically abnormal, particularly among, 18-29-year-olds, 90 percent of whom use social networking sites. But while a lack of social media presence may seem strange, it does not mean that a candidate is socially deviant or psychopathic (as has been suggested ). That’s a baseless claim at best: just 1 percent of the population are thought to be psychopathic, and the notion that the 27 percent of adults who don’t use social media are psychopaths is absurd.

So, social media exiles are not psychopathic, but they are still problematic for employers and recruiters who increasingly depend on social media profiles to screen candidates. What can an employer deduce about a candidate who has no social media profile?

The only thing that a lack of social media presence says about a person is that they will most likely be unsuitable for roles that require social networking skills. Its not easy to deduce much else, as you don’t really know a person’s reasons for not having a social media presence. It could be privacy concerns, technophobia, communication preferences, or the simple fact that they just haven’t gotten around to making one yet.

If you do come across a promising candidate without a social media footprint, you might want to find why they don’t have a social media profile of any kind.

You may find that some candidates abstain from only certain social media. For example, research shows that a massive 84 percent of U.S. adults are not Twitter users. This means you can’t really deduce much about a candidate from their lack of a Twitter account, other than the fact that they are statistically normal, in this case.

Research also shows that only 22 percent of online adults use LinkedIn. Despite the excitement surrounding this medium, a massive 78 percent of people don’t use it. Once again, then, the lack of a LinkedIn profile doesn’t say much about a candidate.

So, should you be concerned if a candidate has no social media presence? I’d say no. Remarkable as it may seem, the majority of people don’t use sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, so a lack of presence on these platforms makes a person fairly normal, statistically speaking. While the majority of people do use Facebook, there is no evidence to suggest that those who don’t use the website are somehow strange or socially deviant.

By Kazim Ladimeji