Social Media Hiring: Maximize Benefits, Reduce Risk

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Gone are the days when social media was in its infancy. This is mainstream in today’s world, with hundreds of millions of people using platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to communicate with others.

From a hiring perspective, the use of social media is on the rise. In a 2013 study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 77 percent of respondents admitted to using social networking sites to recruit candidates.

While there are many benefits of using social media from a recruiting and hiring point of view, it is essential to become familiar with the risks.

Here are five ways to maximize benefits and reduce risk when using social media to recruit and hire workers:

1. Be consistent across the board. If you are going to look at one applicant’s social media profile, you should do the same with the rest. You cannot pick and choose, as this could land you in hot water. Your hiring process has to be fair.

2. Leave this up to the HR department. Managers, for example, often times get the urge to dig around for information on certain candidates. It is best if a dedicated party or department handles this. For example, HR could be responsible for reviewing all social media profiles. This is important for many reasons, including the fact that it ensures a fair hiring process. Furthermore, HR professionals know the laws in regards to what type of information can and cannot be used.

3. Take your time. There is no point in getting ahead of yourself. Rather than review social media profiles early in the process, wait until you have interviewed several qualified applicants. At that point, you have a better idea of what you are doing. Not to mention the fact that it will save you quite a bit of time. After all, there is nothing simple about reviewing the social media profiles of hundreds of candidates. This can take hours on end.

4. Set strict guidelines. This includes the social profiles you review, the information you take into consideration, and the details that don’t factor into your hiring decision. When you set and follow these guidelines, there is always something to fall back on should an applicant claim they were discriminated against.

Tip: track your activity, including the information you compile on each candidate.

5. Know what you are reading. It is your job to differentiate between the candidate’s personal content and what others are saying about him or her. If you rush through the review process, you could confuse the two, thus leading to a poor hiring decision.

Note: in the event that a person has a common name, you may come across several social media profiles with similar handles. Make sure you accurately match the candidate with his or her profiles. There can’t be any guessing here.

Social Hiring will Continue to Grow

If you think the use of social media is going away anytime soon, you are mistaken. For example, here is a statistic shared by the Pew Research Center:

“Multi-platform use is on the rise: 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites, a significant increase from 2013, when it stood at 42% of internet users.”

As more and more people continue to use social media, there will be a greater opportunity to rely on this information during the hiring process.

Just remember this: you have to maximize the benefits of social media while reducing your risk. If you are successful in doing so, this can go a long way in helping you find and hire the right people for the right positions.