Recruiting, Social Media, and Candidate Evaluation


I am wary of recruiters and HR professionals who use social media tools to conduct informal assessments of candidates. I know you know this, but…

  • Not everything on the internet is true.
  • Just because you see something on the internet and think it is true doesn’t mean it is true.
  • Even if it is true, the internet has demonstrated that truth cannot exist without context. Sometimes the truth is subjective.

During a traditional hiring process, companies will interview candidates and make hiring decisions based on a job description with established criteria. There may be a specific set of questions. Once a hiring decision is made, most companies then ask a candidate to consent to a background check and drug tests as part of an offer process.

When you throw in random Google and Facebook searches into the process — and you forget to search candidates equally and with the same criteria because you are just messing around on the internet and stumble upon a juicy picture or a weird comment on a website — you introduce an unreliable and invalid set of measurements into the mix.

Furthermore, what happens when you do find a risque picture of a candidate on the internet?

  • It might not be your candidate.
  • It might be photoshopped.
  • It may have been taken without your candidate’s knowledge.
  • It may have been taken with your candidate’s knowledge but the image may have been stolen and misused.
  • Maybe the image was originally put on the internet, then removed — but Google keeps everything forever and now you are seeing the picture on Google Cache.

When you are hiring a new employee, you want someone who is results-oriented, competent, and decent. You would prefer to hire someone who doesn’t belong to Al Qaeda. Go ahead and use your social media tools as part of the recruiting process; however, invoke common sense and critical thinking as part of your recruiting process, too.

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