What You Need to Know Before You Jump into Screening Job Applicants' Social Media Pages

Facebook boasts an astounding 2.07 billion unique, monthly, active users. YouTube comes in a moderately close second place, with roughly 1.5 billion monthly users. No other social networking platforms have more than 1 billion users, though Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest come in third, fourth, and sixth places, respectively, with 800 million, 330 million, and 200 million monthly visitors.

It's true that a bulk of these users are interested in social media for their own interests: meeting new friends and love interests, maintaining relationships with loved ones, and checking in on former coworkers and classmates. While personal social networking platform utilization dwarfs all other uses, many prominent - and, to a lesser degree, small businesses - business entities and organizations rely on Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites to keep in touch with customers, consumers, news sources, and other parties.

Your business, no matter its size, or if it currently maintains a presence on social media, or not, can take advantage of what others share online in screening job applicants' profiles for meaningful information.

As not everyone is familiar with the business use of social media for screening profiles, let's touch over the central-most benefits of browsing social media platforms for business use.

Make Sure to Treat All Applicants the Same

Let's face it - some social media pages are more entertaining than others, or are otherwise of interest, when compared to other, more-boring, pages. Further, some profiles might not have any of their owners' own posts available for public viewing, instead featuring only their peers' posts that have them tagged.

As such, whoever's doing the screening may be inclined to disproportionately allocate his or her time among applicants' profiles. However, doing so can result in your business not uncovering key information regarding people who could potentially work at your business, be trusted with its secrets, and even lead the entity, in time.

Further, your business might miss out on quality employees due to overanalyzing their profiles. Make sure to allocate limits to browsing applicants' social media pages, including post counts, time limits, and other restrictions.

Be Careful When Taking Potentially Sensitive Characteristics into Consideration

Assume that an applicant posted one or more pictures of her holding a cane, as if she relied on it to get around. Further, assume the the position your business is hiring for requires bouts of heavy lifting.

Let's say you're responsible for screening that person's profile. While it's safe to assume that people with canes aren't able to life as much as their non-disabled counterparts, judging one's suitableness in terms of lifting ability based solely on pictures of them carrying a cane isn't entirely appropriate.

If that person's other characteristics check out, consider inviting that person to an interview. Even though basing your decision on their potential disability might make sense, it can't hurt to bring applicants you have questions about into face-to-face interviews.

Those in Charge of Hiring Don't Need to Screen Profiles

Although it makes sense for hiring decision-makers to screen applicants' web-based social media presences, what's true couldn't be further away from this sentiment.

If your business doesn't have any HR professionals, you should outsource these responsibilities to professional
socialmedia screening
agencies, like Fama. Allocating these duties to your own employees is typically cheaper, though such agencies are infinitely more likely to conduct screening the right way.

*This is a collaborative post